A study by Lloyds Bank, comparing average house prices with those in the county surrounding them, found Northern communities have seen the biggest leap in price as demand grows for homes in traditional market towns. Houses in the West Yorkshire market town of Wetherby face one of the biggest ‘choice’ premiums nationwide, it has emerged, with homes there double the average of other properties in the wider county. Wetherby is second only in this to millionaires’ choice of Beaconsfield in Buckinghamshire, mortgage experts say, with homeowners paying the equivalent of an extra £186,000 to live in the West Yorkshire town. And while this premium is narrowing as prices across the wider county rise, say mortgage experts, perceived value does come at a compromise for some.
'Idyllic'“There are many reasons why homebuyers continue to pay a premium for market town properties,” said Andrew Mason, head of mortgages at Lloyds Bank. “The idyllic surroundings of these close-knit communities make them the perfect place for many. Although the premium has dropped, those after this lifestyle are still likely to be faced with a compromise. “In the market towns of Beaconsfield and Wetherby, potential buyers will have to double their budget, compared to what they could get in the surrounding counties.”The study also looked at the lowest priced market towns, with Yorkshire’s Guisborough and Goole both featuring with house prices averaging £172,518 and £178,670 respectively. The market towns with the fastest rise in value over the last year included Seahouses in Northumberland, where prices had risen 23 per cent, and Marsden in West Yorkshire with an 11 per cent increase. Overall, the study found, the average price of a home in an English market town has risen by nearly a quarter in the last five years, at a rate around eight times that of average annual earnings.Homes in market towns are now priced at an average of £294,772, Lloyds Bank found, £30,986 higher than in surrounding county areas.
WetherbyIn Wetherby, where house prices average £372,991, this is double the county average. The town has much to celebrate in its appeal, said Coun Gerald Wilkinson, who represents the Wetherby ward on Leeds City Council. It’s unique location close to motorways granted it unrivalled access to the North, southern and eastern England, he said, while its High Street had maintained its individuality with many independent shops and businesses.He claimed that the town had a community of volunteers who are invested in its vitality and dedicated to championing its strengths, most notably as seen in Wetherby In Bloom wins, with the town having taken many national and international prizes. But because of its popularity, he added, many developers were now looking at the area to extend, with applications in the pipeline for about 2,000 additional homes to be built in the area.“It’s a combination of factors that make Wetherby such an attractive place to live,” he said. “It very much is a traditional market town. I’ve lived in the Wetherby area since the early 1970s, and I wouldn’t want to leave. “It’s just a lovely place.”