England's market towns have become property hotspots, according to a new report, with prices an average of 17% (or £41,633) higher than in the rest of their county.
Unsurprisingly, the report by Halifax found that market towns within commuting distance of London – where prices are actually falling – have become especially expensive.
The average property price in the market town of Beaconsfield in Buckinghamshire, a 35-minute train ride from London Marylebone, is an eye-watering £1,053,975.
Henley-on-Thames in Oxfordshire, a 35-minute train ride from London Paddington, is the second most expensive market town with an average property price of £838,206, the Press Association reports.
It's not difficult to work out why market towns have become super-desirable. They typically offer many of the amenities that city-dwellers are used to, good transport links, and have easy access to the countryside. In short: you get fresh air and Tesco Metro.
Andrew Mason, mortgages product director at Lloyds Bank, said of the report's findings: "With house prices rising by almost £1,000 a month in the most popular market towns over the past five years, the value put on quality of life and curbside appeal is clear. Home buyers continue to be attracted to towns on the commuter belt into London and are prepared to pay extra to live there."
However, Mason also pointed out that market towns further away from London are less out-of-reach for first-time buyers looking to get on the property ladder.
“For home buyers who are looking for market charm, but not necessarily needing to commute to London, the most affordable towns reside in Yorkshire, Lincolnshire and the North," he said.
Check out the 10 most affordable market towns in England, followed by the 10 least affordable, below.
The 10 most affordable market towns:
1. Ferryhill, North East, £78,3172.
2. Immingham, Yorkshire and Humberside, £115,765
3. Crook, North East, £115,975
4. Saltburn-by-the-Sea, North East, £142,849
5. Stanhope, North East, £146,126
6. Tickhill, East Midlands, £147,761
7. Guisborough, Yorkshire and Humberside, £153,966
8. Marsden, Yorkshire and Humberside, £155,439
9. Boston, East Midlands, £159,403
10. Berwick-upon-Tweed, North East, £165,437
The 10 least affordable market towns:
1. Beaconsfield, South East £1,053,975
2. Henley-on-Thames, South East, £838,206
3. Alresford, South East, £542,614
4. Cranbrook, South East, £492,333
5. Petersfield, South East, £483,222
6. Thame, South East, £477,664
7. Lewes, South East, £460,671
8. Hertford, South East, £449,963
9. Saffron Walden, South East, £441,709
10. Marlborough, South West, £441,296