Michael Evans, of Ludlow estate agent Nock Deighton, explains why Ludlow has retained its charm and character.
"This is the land of lost content...the happy highways where I went..."
A E Housman's A Shropshire Lad epitomises beautiful Ludlow "in those blue remembered hills".
Since the early 1980s, town and city dwellers have discovered the tranquil bliss of South Shropshire so aptly described in Housman's poems, and those who have been able have upped sticks and moved home to enjoy a better quality of life in "time was" of rural England.
Ludlow estate agent Nock Deighton has been selling houses for well over 100 years and more than 90 per cent of buyers are now from London and the home counties as well as the West Midlands.
One of the beauties of Ludlow is that it is relatively inaccessible. We have no motorways or dual carriageways leading to the big cities, so there is little commuting from this area and it has enabled Ludlow to retain its charm and character without being re-developed to look like every other town centre in the country.
Job opportunities in South Shropshire, like many other rural areas, are few and far between, so the majority of our buyers are in middle age and generally in early retirement, having acquired the equity in their previous homes before moving here.
Much of Ludlow town centre dates back to the 15th century and we hope that the local council in its future planning will not let too many Aldi retail sheds spoil the reason why so many people enjoy the character and beauty of our wonderful town.
In the early 1980s, before the invasion of city dwellers, when only local people bought property here, there were few transactions and house prices were well below the national average. In the 21st century, prices are now higher than many affluent areas of the country simply because supply has not been able to keep up with demand.
There is only a finite number of historic houses available, yet we have a continually increasing number of buyers wanting to escape from the rigours of town and city life, now so different from our childhood days.
Not only is Ludlow a picturesque town on a hill, with its magnificent cathedral-size church and 13th century castle all bound by the meandering river Teme, but there is also the enjoyment of many local shops including a remarkable number of six butchers and four bakers contributing to the growing food reputation of the area.
Ludlow's restaurants are now world famous, and the recent addition of the out of town food centre, providing top quality local produce in a delightful rural shopping environment, adds to the attraction of the area.
Nock Deighton reports that with the majority of its registered buyers over 55 years of age, there are few financial problems for buyers who have already paid off their mortgages and have ready cash to buy.
Naturally we are indirectly affected by the current credit squeeze.
However, we find that providing the properties on sale are marketed at realistic asking prices there are still ready buyers out there who cannot put their lives on hold when retirement beckons.
Although the best property in Ludlow has now reached almost £1 million you can still buy a charming historic four-storey terraced house in Ludlow's famous Broad Street, currently on the market at £435,000.
If you prefer to enjoy all the modcons of a new house then why not buy a three-storey pseudo Georgian town house at Merchants Court for as little as £245,000.
We only have the privilege of living once in this changing world. For those lucky enough, I would strongly recommend a move to those blue remembered hills.