With news of a recent article in The Independent claiming that house prices in English market towns are now £30,000 higher than in surrounding areas, based on a report by Lloyds Bank, we've compared the house prices from the article with the average asking prices from our own data, plus additional insights from our whole-of-market data*.
With London house prices typically being far beyond many people’s budgets at the current average asking price of just over £967K, it’s not surprising that smaller (and cheaper) towns within a commutable distance from major cities - where a large house with a garden can often be bought for a fraction of the price of a London flat - are gaining in popularity.
The three most expensive market towns according to The Independent are Beaconsfield, Henley-on-Thames and Alresford; all three located in the South East.
The South East regional average asking price is £451,184 (£98,428 above the UK average), with 2.4% of all properties currently on the market and average time on the market of 117 days.
Beaconsfield, located in the Hemel Hampstead area and only around 30 minute train journey from London’s Marylebone station, was found to be the most expensive market town with an average house price of £1,049,659. While clearly pricey, this is almost £153k lower than the average asking price of £1,202,592 in the Beaconsfield’s HP9 postcode district. 3% of homes in HP9 are currently on the market, so these sellers should expect to sell not only at around 13% below the asking price but also, that the property might spend around 5 months on the market, with the average in HP9 being 138 days – that's 21 days longer than the South East average.
Henley-on-Thames, located near Reading and close to the Chiltern Hills, is the second most expensive market town according to The Independent, with an average house price of £831,452. The average asking price in Henley’s RG9 postcode district however is £939,967, so as with Beaconsfield, sellers can expect to get around 12% below the asking price for their house after 137 days on the market. 2.8% properties in RG9 are currently on the market.
Alresford, located within an hour’s drive from both Portsmouth (30 miles) and Southampton (20 miles) and on the edge of the South Downs National Park, with the average house price of £541,529, is the third most expensive market town according to the article. This figure is 11% below the average asking price of £609,168 in the SO24 postcode district. Properties in SO24 spend on average 146 days on the market, so longer than in the other two towns, and 29 days longer than the South East average. 2.8% of properties in the district are currently on the market. For comparison, the most in-demand district in the Portsmouth area is the Chandler’s Ford Precinct in Eastleigh, with properties sold after only 93 days on the market, an asking price of around £427,000 and less than 2% of properties currently for sale. The area is very conveniently located for the Southampton Airport and only 7 miles away from the city centre.
Conversely, The Independent article also found that the three most affordable market towns - Ferryhill, Crook and Stanhope are all in the Durham area, North East of England.
The North East average asking price is less than half of the South East price (43%), at £194,423 and it takes more than a month longer to sell a house in the North East, with the average time on market of 169 days.
Ferryhill: With the town located near Durham, Newcastle upon Tyne and the North Pennines, and average house price of £78,184 (almost £50K below the average asking price of £127,422), there should perhaps be more interest in properties in this town. However, it takes on average 203 days - over six months - to sell a property here.
The time spent on market is similar in the town of Crook - located to the east of Ferryhill and closer to the Pennines, at 201 days - with the average house prices of £115,659, almost £30K below the average asking price of £143,215.
Even further to the east, on the edge of the Pennines, is the third most affordable market town of Stanhope. According to the Independent, the average house price here is £142,535; this is a significant £85K below the average asking price of £227,808 (i.e. houses sell for just over 60% of the asking price). The properties in Stanhope not only go for a lot less than the asking price, but also take longer to sell. The average time on the market is 260 days – three months longer than the North East average and almost four months longer than the UK average. 3.3% of all the properties in the Stanhope postcode of DL13 are currently on the market – this is the highest percentage of the three most affordable market towns as this figure is 2.4% in Ferryhill and 2.7% in Crook.
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*Data correct as of 23/10/2017