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Last Updated: Friday, 11 June, 2004, 22:56 GMT 23:56 UK
Market towns top house price rise
Houses in Ringwood, Hampshire, (pic courtesy of freefoto.com)
Homes in Ringwood are among the most expensive in the country
Beaconsfield is the most expensive market town in England in which to buy property, according to Halifax.

Homebuyers paid 550,485 for a home in the Buckinghamshire town in 2003, attracted by its proximity to London.

In total, all but four of the nation's 112 market towns have seen property prices more than double since 1995.

Halifax said that 36 market towns, mostly in the south east, recorded average house prices in excess of 200,000 last year.

Above average

At the very top end of the scale, ten market towns in England recorded average house prices of more than 250,000 in 2003.

Five most expensive market towns
Beaconsfield (Bucks) 550,495
Midhurst (Sussex) 279,840
Ringwood (Hampshire) 279,266
Winchcombe (Gloucs) 273,939
Cranbrook (Kent) 267,526
Source: Halifax

Overall, two-thirds of market towns recorded average house prices which were higher than the county average.

All but a few of the most expensive towns were located in the south east, with Lymm in Cheshire the most expensive northern market town recording average house prices of 229,412.

The group defined a market town as having a population of between 3,000 and 30,000.

"Market towns are usually very attractive places to live. This is reflected in the majority of market towns having higher property prices than their surrounding counties and the more than doubling in average prices since 1995 in all but a few exceptions," Martin Ellis, Halifax chief economist said.

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