Coastal house buyers see further growth

The average house price in seaside towns rose by 63% over the past decade, to £197,938, according to the latest research from Halifax.

Since 2003, Porthmadog in Wales was the seaside town that recorded the biggest rise with the average house price increasing by 134% from £69,479 to £162,638 in 2013. The town, which is rich in maritime history, sits adjacent to the Snowdonia National Park and expanse of the Glaslyn estuary. Seaham (128%) and Newbiggin-by-the-Sea (120%) – both in the North East – saw the next largest rises, and now stand at £104,840 and £81,442.

Contrary to the recent performance of the wider housing market, eight of the ten seaside towns experiencing the biggest house price gains since 2003 are outside southern England. The other two top performers – Mawes (£369,224) and Perranporth (£262,113) – are in the South West. The others had average prices that were well below £100,000 in 2003, with prices rising sharply from a relatively low base over the decade.

Martin Ellis, housing economist at Halifax, said: “Seaside towns are highly popular places to live. They offer a unique lifestyle with a typically high quality of life and a healthy environment and as a result, living by the coast can come at a price.”

The average house price in a seaside town now stands at £197,938. This means that the much sought after life beside the seaside is 17% more affordable when compared to the average house price across England and Wales (£238,091).

The price performance of seaside towns was slightly below the 70% increase across the whole of England and Wales since 2003. However, there was a shift in the comparative performance of seaside towns, which outperformed overall prices in England and Wales in the ten years to 2012.

Despite the outperformance by northern seaside towns generally over the past ten years, all ten of the most expensive seaside towns in England and Wales are on the south coast with eight in the South West.

Salcombe in Devon (£570,378), which sits in the South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and Sandbanks in Dorset (£552,242) have the highest average prices with both also featuring among the most expensive areas of any description in the country, with both retaining their top positions from the 2012 rankings.

Contrary to the north’s outperformance over the decade as whole, southern seaside towns have fared better during the past five years. All top ten performers since 2008 are in southern England led by Aldeburgh in Suffolk, home of the internationally renowned Aldeburgh Festival of arts, which has recorded a 17% increase.

The majority of seaside towns in Wales (63%), East Anglia (60%) and the South West (57%) have an average price that is higher than the average for their county. In contrast, there are no seaside towns in Yorkshire and the Humber and the East Midlands with an average price above their county’s average.

Not all seaside towns boast high average prices. Three towns have an average price below £100,000 – Newbiggin-by-the-Sea in Northumberland (£81,442), Withernsea in Yorkshire & the Humber (£93,671) and Fleetwood in Lancashire (£99,210).

Blackpool – one of the most famed and historically popular seaside towns in England – features in the list of the ten least expensive seaside towns with an average house price of £101,715.

Rhyl (£116,874) is the least expensive Welsh seaside town. Lowestoft (£138,687) has the lowest average house price of seaside towns in southern England.

Ellis said: “The majority of seaside towns in Wales, East Anglia and the South West have an average house price that is higher than the surrounding area. This is not always the case though and good value properties can be found in many seaside towns, particularly in the South East and Yorkshire and the Humber.”

Have your say on this story using the comment section below