MORE than 85 percent of the county’s poshest properties are being bought up by Londoners.

Anthony Clay, of Knight Frank, said that the disparity with London house prices means Herefordshire is becoming a haven for affluent families from the south east.

“Whether we like it or not it’s economics – the difference in house prices means that almost most of the buyers come from London and the south east.

“House prices here have exceeded what income can pay for.”

Far from looking for a ‘little place in the country’, these families are dominating the £500k-plus housing market.

The two most popular areas are Ledbury and Monmouth because of road links and nearby private schools.

“Generally – not always – people who are spending up to £1m on a house tend be look to send their children to private school,” said Mr Clay.

For prospective buyers, that means Monmouth’s two Haberdashers’ schools, or, in the case of Ledbury private schools across the border in Cheltenham or Worcester.

Knight Frank’s website, recommends Monmouth School and Hereford Cathedral School, as well as the Castle Hotel for food and Gilbies bar for a drink.

Of the 2, 250 properties currently on the market in Herefordshire, 188 fall within the £500,000 bracket.

And despite Hereford ranking within the top 10 of a recent study of the most affordable places to live, the average house price id just over £300k.