The town where house prices are booming
Property hotspot Altrincham now commands the highest price premium in the country.
House hunters desperate to live in the leafy suburb – are paying 160 pc more than similar homes in neighbouring districts.
The average property price in the town is now an eye-watering £431,295 – more than twice the average for the whole of Greater Manchester, at £162,247.
Price are 165pc higher than surrounding areas and well above the average £280,690 price tag for English market towns.
Stuart Howe, branch manager at Thornley Groves estate agent has studied the Altrincham housing market for the last 18 years, he said: “One of the things we find is that because of the strength of the schools, both primaries and secondaries, we get a lot of people coming who have lived in WA14 or 15 for years and who want to stay in the area.
“People get used to living close to Hale village and Altrincham town centre and though they know moving five miles further out will get them a bigger house and a bigger garden, they would rather beg, borrow or steal to stay put.
The likes of Loreto, Ambrose and both Altrincham boys and girls, are regularly among the best in the country and competition is fierce.
This has given the suburb a premium price bracket that other areas cannot compete with.
If you look at prices close to the best schools in the area however, then prices increase even further.
For example, the two most expensive properties sold in August were both just a stone’s throw from St Ambrose and Altrincham Grammar School for Boys; selling for £1.5m and £1.77m, respectively.
Stuart said: “On any appointment, it generally doesn’t take long for the question of schools to come up, it’s a big drive for many.
“Families want to stay in the area because they want to retain their position in the catchment area.”
But it isn’t just about the schools anymore.
Increasing investment in the shape of Altrincham Market and swathes of apartments coming to the town centre have attracted a much younger demographic to the area.
Stuart said: “The investment has had a massive impact on the area. If you look back a few years, I think that the people who moved away to the likes of Castlefield and Chorlton would have stayed if they had had the infrastructure that we have now.
“But we are now seeing the area come back to life, in the likes of Goose Green and Altrincham Market, and that is bringing with it a much younger generation.
“There have been some really interesting schemes in the town centre, with commercial spaces being converted into stylish apartments. So people are now living right in the centre, which has changed the face of Altrincham.”
This has only bolstered the area’s high values, which means that first time buyers are still finding it hard to break into the town’s inner circle.
Young couples like Ben Morris, 29, and his partner, Rachel Hughes, 29, are just one pair that have chosen to make Altrincham their home.
Unable to afford the home they wanted closer to the town centre, Ben and Rachel moved to Broadheath, buying a two bedroom property for £210,000.
Ben said: “Looking around we found that anything closer in, for our budget, had something wrong with it; we looked at one house and when a lorry drove past the whole house shook.
“We didn’t really know the area but we had a wander around the town centre and the market and really liked it and thought it was ideal really.
“If we are to go out now we go to Altrincham town centre rather than the city and we are big fans of the market and the town’s bars and restaurants.
“Also I work in the city centre and my partner works further out so it’s great for transport links as well.”
Top 10 market towns with the highest premiums
1. Altrincham, Cheshire, £431,295, 165%, £269,048
2. Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, £1,049,659, 161%, £647,623
3. Wetherby, West Yorkshire, £366,873, 110%, £191,817
4. Henley on Thames, Oxfordshire, £831,452, 108%, £431,991
5. Bakewell, Derbyshire, £355,264, 88%, £166,794
6. Keswick, Cumbria, £323,288, 81%, £144,522
7. Southwell, Nottinghamshire, £308,563, 74%, £131,071
=7. Alfresford, Hampshire, £541,529, 74%, £229,726
8. Stamford, Lincolnshire, £311,467, 65%, £122,842
=8. Middleton St George, Durham, £218,377, 65%, £85,985
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