Top seaside property hotspots

Melanie Wright
Written by: Melanie Wright
Posted on: 14 September 2016

Many of us dream of owning a home by the sea, but soaring property prices in many coastal locations mean you’ll need to act fast if you want to snap up a beachfront bargain. Homebuyers often pay a premium to live by the seaside, with Knight Frank’s latest Prime Waterfront Index revealing that prime coastal properties can cost as much as 71% more than comparable properties just a mile inland. Prices are on the up in many places, with several coastal locations experiencing double-digit growth in property prices over the last year alone. Here are the seaside towns where prices have increased the most over the past 12 months.

Margate takes the coastal crown

According to research by property website Zoopla, Margate in Kent is currently top of the ‘Seaside Property League’ with house prices there having risen by a whopping 12.5% over the last year. The current average property value in Margate is now just over £202,000. Prices there have been boosted by government funding given to the town for regeneration, and Margate is now home not only to the Turner Contemporary Gallery, but also the revamped Dreamland theme park.

Second on the list of booming beach locations is Grange-Over-Sands in Cumbria, where property prices have shot up by 10.5% over the past year, to an average of £274,321. This is just the spot if you’re looking for views over beautiful Morecambe Bay, but also want a base from which to explore the Lake District.

It’s all going on down south

Seven out of the 10 coastal locations which have seen the biggest price rises over the past year are in the south of the country, with properties in Porthcawl, south Wales, having risen by 10% over the past year to an average of £212,449. Other beachside locations which made it into the top 10 are Hayling Island in Hampshire, Southend-on-Sea in Essex, Hastings in Sussex, Felixstowe in Suffolk, and Ramsgate in Kent.

However, four of the worst-performing seaside towns are on the south-west cost, including two of Devon’s most popular holiday locations - Woolacombe and Ilfracombe - where house prices have fallen by 2.2% over the past year, and Looe and Perranporth in Cornwall, where prices have dropped by 2.2% and 2% respectively.

Wales and Scotland are the best places to find an inexpensive beachside home

Where to find the best beach bargains

Despite the fact property prices in many seaside locations have soared over the past year, it’s still possible to find a bargain if you know where to look. According to Zoopla, Wales and Scotland are the best places to find an inexpensive beachside home. Saltcoats in Scotland is the cheapest coastal location in the UK to buy a home, with an average property price of just £109,109. That’s nearly six times less than the average £598,230 price tag of an average property in Salcombe, Devon, which is the most expensive place to buy a seaside home.

Things to consider when buying a beachside property

Buying a property by the sea might be appealing, but remember to consider the potential downsides first. If you’re very close to the beach, there will often be a risk of flooding, and salt water can cause much greater damage to brickwork and electrical systems than fresh water. Even if sea defences mean that flooding is unlikely, salt spray during stormy periods can still cause significant damage to a property over time. Make sure you get a full structural survey before buying any coastal property to ensure there aren’t any major problems already. It’s also a good idea to check whether any specially treated materials have been used in the construction of the property which could help protect it against water penetration.

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