Price slumps barely impact on spa towns

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Homeowners in Matlock or Buxton, can probably forget all about property price slumps, according to a new survey.

For as two of England’s spa towns, both have enjoyed above average house price rises over the past ten years.

Figures from Lloyds TSB suggest that house prices in spa towns average £38,000 (or 16 per cent) more than their county average.

And in 15 of 18 spa towns, prices are significantly higher than those in neighbouring towns.

The largest premiums are both in West Yorkshire: Boston Spa (average £153,629) enjoys a premium of 98 per cent, followed by Ilkley (£152,022, or 97 per cent).

Homebuyers have to part with more than £100,000 extra for a spa town address in Yorkshire’s “Golden Triangle”. Along with Boston Spa and Ilkley, Harrogate and Knaresborough have homes costing an average £105,000 (59 per cent) more than the county average.

Only three spa towns seem to have missed the boom, with house prices below their county average: Epsom, Surrey (five per cent lower), Llandrindod Wells, Powys (seven per cent lower), and Boston, Lincolnshire (15 per cent lower).

Doubled

In 15 spa towns, house prices have at least doubled in the past decade.

In Builth Wells, Powys, the best performer, prices are 153 per cent higher than they were ten years ago, followed by Tenbury Wells, Worcestershire (143 per cent), Boston Spa (141 per cent) and Matlock, Derbyshire (140 per cent).

In Buxton, house prices have risen by 115 per cent over the same period.

Lloyds TSB used Land Registry true sales figures to compile its table and come to the conclusion that spa town homes are the least likely to suffer the peaks and troughs that affect so much of the housing market.

But what makes spa town homes so appealing?

According to Lloyds, spa town homes tend to be larger than similar properties in neighbouring towns.

They also tend to be older, which means bigger rooms.

The average age of the housing stock in spa towns is 67 years, some 13 years above the UK average of 54.

Bath and Matlock have the oldest housing stock, with an average property age of 92 years.

Houses in spa towns tend be bigger than in the UK as a whole, with an average 5.5 habitable rooms, against a national average of 5.2.

The largest houses were found to be in Ilkley and Malvern, both with an average 5.8 habitable rooms.

Nitesh Patel, Lloyds TSB housing economist, says: “Spa towns tend to have a larger stock of period architecture, such as Georgian or Regency, which are often larger and command higher prices.

“Spa towns are also often thought of as having a high quality of life, including excellent schools, lower crime rates, and lesser traffic volumes, all of which drive desirability in these areas and ramp up value. It all adds up to a significant success story for the housing market in these areas.”