Is it worth living by the sea or are you better off visiting?

publication date: Apr 27, 2022
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author/source: Kate Faulkner, Property Expert and Author of Which? Property Books

Is it worth living by the sea or are you better off visiting?

 

Is it worth living by the sea or are you better off visiting?

 

 

I am sure that at some point in all of our lives we dream of living by the sea - even if we don't always have the best weather! 

This year I had the chance to stay in Alnwick in Northumberland and I loved the fact that we could go to a different beach every day (many with magnificent castles too!) and take the dogs out for a fabulous walk - even though it was bitterly cold in January! 

According to Halifax's latest 'Seaside Town Review' Salcombe in Devon is Britain’s most expensive seaside town, with an average house price of £950,325, with Sandbanks in Poole in second place on the list at £835,971.

Another south west town, St Mawes in Cornwall, has seen the biggest increase in average prices of any seaside town over the last year, increasing by 48% from £339,912 to £501,638.

The good news is from Halifax's analysis is that despite many house prices going up dramatically in value during the pandemic and that this has been seen in some seaside towns, there are still some great value properties and areas available.

Scotland dominates the list of Britain’s least expensive seaside towns – with Millport, on the Isle of Cumbrae, offering the most affordable properties. So even if you don't happen to have half or a million pounds spare for a property, if you can gather £75,000, you will still be able to find an idyllic spot by the sea.

And rather than focusing on year on year price increases, it's also interesting that according to the Halifax, over the last ten years, the average house price in Britain's seaside towns has risen by 36% (or £71,046) from an average of £194,932 in 2011 to £265,978 in 2021.

Bearing in mind general inflation during this time has increased by around 30%, paying an additional 36% for a seaside home means that they have remained pretty good value. 

However, there is always an exception to the rule and in this case it's Padstow in Cornwall, which over the last decade has seen the biggest average price rise of any seaside town, jumping by over a quarter of a million pounds, from £351,458 to £616,368, substantially beating inflationary rises.

 


For those keen to move to the seaside it is worth thinking through the pros as well as the cons:- 

 

  1. You may have to pay a higher price for sea views and therefore have to settle on a smaller property, potentially with little garden space (however, if you can walk to the beach everyday, this might not be an issue!).
  2. Your property is likely to cost more to maintain, especially if it's affected by the salty sea air. 
  3. During sunny days it can be a nightmare to live with so many tourists visiting.
  4. Places can close down out of season if there aren't enough people living in the local area to sustain shops, restaurants and amenities.
  5. Parking around the town you live may be more expensive unless locals get passes or preferential rates.
  6. Insurance costs may be higher.
  7. The area may experience flooding, which could be quite scary at times. 
  8. You may end up hating sand if you can never get rid of it!  
  9. Some areas may not have such good internet connections with slow broadband speeds.
  10. Beware of coastal erosion and whether this could affect the area you're looking at in the future.

 

So, before you decide to move the beach, it's definitely worth living there for a while (if you can find somewhere to rent first) before you invest a lot of money living somewhere you end up deciding isn't for you! 


To find out more about where you might be able to afford to live by the sea, read the full Halifax report here.

 

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The Society of Licensed Conveyancers
 Advantages of a new build property checklist How to run in your new property The legals of buying & selling a home

 


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