Coastal locations have seen frenzied interest during the pandemic, as people fled urban homes in search of a new lifestyle by the sea.
And research from Rightmove shows that the arrival of winter has not dimmed demand for seaside homes. Bournemouth, Southampton, and Brighton are leading the charge, with the biggest annual increases in buyer interest – gauged by the number of house hunters requesting property information on coastal homes around the UK.
Trains from London to Bournemouth take just under two hours, making it an ideal option for those who only need to be in the office now and then. It also has seven miles of sandy beaches and 2,000 acres of green space, plus a busy town centre.
The average asking price is £317,000, up four per cent in the past year, but Bournemouth has a massive choice of properties, from multi million pound Victorian and Edwardian villas to 1930s family houses, art deco sea view apartments, and three bedroom period semis priced at around £350,000 to £400,000.
“It has been very busy,” said Sam Harris, property manager at Frost & Co estate agents. “If we get a property that comes up, for sale or to rent, we can get sometimes more than 100 enquiries for it overnight.”
As well as local movers Harris said many of those would-be buyers are coming out of London. “They are looking for more space, and somewhere a bit quieter to live,” he said.
Table: the 10 most in-demand UK coastal locations
Average asking price
Average asking price increase 2021 vs 2020
Brighton, East Sussex
Eastbourne, East Sussex
Worthing, West Sussex
Hastings, East Sussex
And, wherever they are from, there is one thing which is on the top of all buyers’ wish lists. “Everybody wants outside space because of Covid,” said Harris. “The market always quietens down just before Christmas but come the spring it will get really busy again.”
Second and third places in the league table are taken by two university cities.
Despite its lack of a beach Southampton, Hampshire, takes second place thanks to its affordable homes (the average asking price stands at £249,000, up four per cent in the last year), proximity to the South Downs, south coast, and New Forest, good facilities, and 80 minute commute to London.
Brighton – the perfect choice of those who want to combine city life with the beach – came in third place. The East Sussex city also has the South Downs on the doorstep, a train service to Victoria or London Bridge taking around an hour, and great shops, restaurants, cafes, and nightlife.
It is the most expensive of the three however, with average prices standing at £462,000, up five per cent year-on-year.