It’s in the water: Homebuyers splash out for spa town houses

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Homebuyers living in spa towns typically pay £50,000 more for a property than those purchasing a house in other parts of the county.

Lloyds TSB said house prices in spa towns in England and Wales are about 27 per cent or £48,123 more than those in their counties generally, averaging £275,397 last year.

Ilkley was named as the most expensive spa town outside southern England with average house prices of nearly £300,000.

Homebuyers will have to pay an average “premium” of £143,388, or 96 per cent, if they want to purchase properties in the town compared to other parts of West Yorkshire.

Boston Spa came in second place with an 85 per cent premium, while Bath was in third place with buyers paying just over 50 per cent more than the county average.

Prices in spa towns have climbed by £1,077 a month typically and nearly £130,000 overall since 2001, a total figure 12 per cent higher than the average monetary increase.

The hikes mean that homes in spa towns now cost 8.3 times gross annual earnings, up from six times earnings in 2001.

Nine out of 10 homes in these towns were found to command higher prices than in neighbouring locations, with Ilkley boasting the highest premium. Knaresborough in North Yorkshire has a premium of 30 per cent.

Prices in spa towns have increased by 88 per cent over the last decade, although house prices across England and Wales have gone up at a higher rate of 99 per cent.

However, five spa towns have seen house prices more than double in the past decade.

Harrogate saw a 107 per cent rise to stand at £264,113. But the largest increases were seen in Builth Wells in mid-Wales, which saw a 170 per cent rise to reach £183,050, and Llandrindod Wells, where prices went up by 109 per cent to average £155,469.

Suren Thiru, housing economist at Lloyds TSB, said: “Homes in spa towns continue to command a substantial premium over their neighbouring areas with the quality of life benefits and sense of history that typically characterise such locations still resonating amongst homebuyers.

“However, as a consequence of rising property prices, housing market conditions in spa towns have become tougher over the past decade, particularly for those looking to get on the property ladder for the first time.”

But Syd Briscoe, office manager at Myrings estate agents in Harrogate, said high prices in the town and the surrounding area were also influenced by factors such as good schools and transport links.

He said: “Harrogate and the surrounding areas and villages very appealing in that it has a lot to offer in quite a wide dynamic.

“Harrogate has an abundance of good schools, it’s close to the one of the largest financial districts in the country and has a wide range of amenities so it’s popular with older people. Of course it does add to the appeal that it is a spa town and with that comes history, character and buildings that are hundreds of years old.”

Epsom in Surrey was named as the most expensive spa town, with an average house price of £339,231. Typical prices topped £250,000 in half of the 18 towns studied.