Market Thoughts column: Market towns are the happiest places to Live

Edward Brassey is an associate partner at Strutt & Parker based at 41 High Street, Market Harborough.
Edward Brassey is an associate partner at Strutt & Parker based at 41 High Street, Market Harborough.

Things are looking up – market towns are now the happiest places to live in the UK, according to the latest data from the Office for National Statistics.

Apart from the lifestyle, easy access to facilities and often beautiful period properties, residents might have an extra spring in their step knowing that market town properties tend to keep their value, with buyers prepared to spend six per cent above the national average.

The ONS highlights that residents are reportedly most satisfied with life in market towns, citing high levels of personal well-being and low levels of anxiety.

Market towns typically have a great sense of community spirit and are full of independent shops and cafés, young families as well as older residents that add a unique inclusive quality rarely found elsewhere.

Thriving from the original markets, local high streets tend to flourish, local produce is rife and the heart of the town is always bustling.

Towns like Market Harborough – smaller than cities but bigger than villages – offer a great balance with rural living and all the amenities added.

It’s not surprising that buyers pay a premium for living in such places, where the average four-bed market town property compared to the same house in a different location, might command an extra 2-5 per cent.

Lloyds Bank last year found that house prices in two-thirds of market towns in England are higher than their county average.

By demonstrating a greater economic and social vitality, market towns have proven to withstand recent house-price depressions and continue to present themselves as reliable investments to see strong capital growth.

Buyers of market town properties are attracted by the lifestyle, lower crime rates, less unemployment and better levels of health.

If moving from a city, it will offer a sensible midway point ensuring they feel they have not entirely moved to “the sticks”.

Many of the London buyers we see from our network of London offices, who we would traditionally expect to be targeting village properties, are now shifting to include town properties within their search parameters.

The access to local schools combined with excellent commuting times, while still offering a community will minimise any sense of isolation.

Ally this with the price differential to many towns nearer the capital, many of which have comparable commuting times, and the case seems made.

Edward Brassey is an associate partner at Strutt & Parker based at 41 High Street, Market Harborough.

For more information about the firm, see its website at www.struttandparker.co.uk.