Homebuyers are proving the enduring appeal of the quintessential market town, pushing prices for property ever higher.
According to research from Halifax, some 67 per cent of the towns which are defined as those with a population of between 3,000 and 30,000 inhabitants attract higher average property prices than neighbouring conurbations.
Leading the pack is Beaconsfield in Buckinghamshire, which has the largest price premium of any town in the UK, with houses trading at a premium of 144 per cent to the average house price in the county.
The average house price in Beaconsfield was £704,724 in March 2008.
Eighteen other market towns have an average house price exceeding £300,000 - including Ringwood in Hampshire (£380,301), Winchcombe in Gloucestershire (£371,796) and Cranbrook in Kent (£365,171).
Furthermore, there are 76 more market towns in England where the average house price was above £200,000 in March 2008.
Forty six (60 per cent) of these towns are in southern England. The remaining 30 (40 per cent) market towns are roughly equally spread out across the Midlands and northern England.
"Home buyers continue to be attracted to the high quality of life, architecture, history, setting and community spirit offered by market towns and are prepared to pay a premium to live there," said Martin Ellis, chief economist at Halifax.
"Most market towns have higher house prices than other towns in their county. The majority have also seen stronger house price growth than the English average over the past five years."
Ferryhill in Durham is the least expensive market town in England with an average house price of £84,892 in March 2008.
The location is also only market town in the survey with an average house price below £100,000; however, the average price in this market town rose by 99 per cent over the past five years.