As property advisors, if there’s anything we’ve learned from the last year – and last six months in particular – is that people are thinking differently about why they live in the places they do. What’s in a property? Well, more than just four walls and a roof – it’s really about the lifestyle it offers. With the coastal property market, specific interest in waterfront property across the UK has gone through the roof. From the ability to enjoy coastal walks and a sense of oneness with nature, to the exhilaration one can feel from sailing or surfing, having a base by the coast enables people to live the lifestyle they’ve worked towards or have dreamed in their mind’s eye. In the past year, we’ve seen ‘raw’ coastal property – that on a rugged waterfront setting overlooking the sea – surge in popularity, especially as people look for greater space, or a connection with nature. Interest in estuary property remains strong, especially with families who perhaps prefer the more benign, safer water. In harbour towns, popularity remains steadfast and we’re actually seeing competitive bidding for many properties. As I mentioned in my opening note, people are grappling with their mortality, now more than ever. Waterfront property is an investment for people’s future and their family’s futures. And as more second-home owners begin to see their seaside or harbourside home as their principal residence, these properties are becoming even more scarce. For those wanting to realise their property’s capital, we’re here to help you make that ambition a reality.
Christopher Bailey Head of National Waterfront
UK coastal at a glance
A dream of a waterfront lifestyle, and all that goes with it, may be enough to spark your next property journey, but the numbers will help you steel your resolve. Coastal property in the UK can provide both the lifestyle and a sound platform for investment.
The premium that can be achieved for a harbourside property in the UK, in comparison to a similar property inland.
The increase in web searches for coastal/seaside property in the UK between March 2020 and August 2020 – up from 49% over the same period in 2018.
The average premium a coastal waterfront property can achieve in the UK.
Coastal properties in the past year were a steady option for people wanting to invest in a waterfront property. Going into 2020, this trend continued and was not knocked off pace by the looming threat the Covid-19 pandemic posed. Today, increased interest in the coastal waterfront market has offered hope of fertile ground for motivated buyers as well as giving sellers the opportunity to realise their property's capital in a hyper-compeitive market. These kind of markets are enjoying the fruits of their hard-earned labours and have become attractive propositions for more metropolitan buyers.
Why? It’s the ease of access they provide and the difference in lifestyle that they can offer – most coastal locations are accessible within just a few hours’ drive from London. What's more, as Head of The Buying Solution, Jonathan Bramwell, notes, there's evidence that wealthier buyers are searching for more than one property, with the third a country base between principal city residence and coastal holiday home. This changing dynamic – one where the idea of the second home is eroded – is contributing to the rejuvination of some of the UK's oldest coastal communities.
Where to next?
Our network of agents and offices across the UK know a thing or two about selling waterfront property. But there's more to what we do than selling property for the best prices. As well as trusted advisors for all property related issues, we're also your guides to the best areas and all that goes on within them, thanks to our intimate knowledge of our respective local areas. Below are four of the must-know neighbourhoods in the UK, on any of its coastlines. Find out what our expert agents believe could be your next destination to live.
Bosham & The Witterings, West Sussex
Oliver Rodbourne Partner, Country Department firstname.lastname@example.org
Chichester harbour is a designated area of outstanding natural beauty. It offers a blend of quaint English hamlets like Bosham, idyllic river estuaries at Dell Quay, and British seaside living with sandy beaches in West Wittering. Typically, the area is full of either young families local to the region, second homeowners from London or international buyers wanting a small slice of England’s sunny South coast that is easily accessible. The area continues to set the bar with prime real estate and boasts a number of high-profile owners.
There a numerous sailing clubs dotted throughout the estuaries and the Isle of Wight is only a short hop across the Solent. With the regular extremes of the high and low tides, the landscape is constantly changing, you might want to take extra care when parking on Bosham Lane or Shore Road, as what seems a normal road becomes an extension of the river mouth at high tide.
What’s key to the area is its peaceful, quiet and discreet environment. This is an area for people who want to escape the city buzz or live relaxed, uncomplicated lives with the natural landscape and coastline as their backdrop.
The average property price growth over five years in the Bosham & The Wittering area (2015 to 2019)
The average price of a property sold by Knight Frank in Bosham & East Wittering (above £750,000)
Croyde, North Devon
Christopher Bailey Partner, Head of National Waterfront email@example.com
Something of a hidden gem of the north Devon coastline, Croyde offers a quintessential beach lifestyle that’s perfect for families of all ages. With the UNESCO world heritage site of Braunton Burrows just around The Point, residents of this seaside village can integrate with the year-round community and enjoy the number of pubs, restaurants, delis, cafés and shops it has. The renowned gastro-pub, The Rock, is about one mile away in Georgeham while more extensive shopping can be found in the nearby towns of Braunton and Barnstaple.
Nearby schooling – state and private – is to a very good standard, with West Buckland School at Barnstaple of particular note. It is well respected and offers nursery, preparatory and senior education for children from the ages of three to 18. The sought-after Georgeham Primary School is also nearby. Out of school, children can experience real ‘bucket-and-spade’ beach living on the surrounding beaches, while for the grown up, Saunton Sands provides some of the best surfing (wind and kite, too) in the UK.
Property within Croyde is mostly post-war, so not much by the way of period property. What it does have is a really fertile market below a million pounds, and this is only on the up. Spacious family homes are plentiful and are very well-built, with the area representing good value for money at all price points. Connectivity is a big plus for this north Devon outpost, with Tiverton Parkway’s sub-two-hour rail connection to London less than an hour’s drive away.
The average property price growth over five years in Croyde (2015 to 2019)
The average price of a property sold by Knight Frank in Croyde (above £750,000)
Blyford & Westleton, Suffolk
George Bramley Partner, Country Department; Farms & Estates firstname.lastname@example.org
The Suffolk Heritage Coast has long been considered by the connoisseur as a popular destination to escape to a coastal retreat. The villages that surround it, being the perfect base to experience it at its best. Only six miles apart, Westleton and Blyford represent the best in both coastal and riverside living in Suffolk, but at a significantly lighter price point than their more established counterparts of Southwold or Aldeburgh.
A serene situation, Blyford is just above the estuary head of the River Blyth, the main river that forms the harbour for Southwold. In Westleton, open Suffolk countryside gives way to the rolling heath of Westleton Heath National Nature Reserve, which buffets it from the sea by roughly a mile. The walks along the coast are famed, with a ramble to Dunwich Heath particularly exceptional. Local gastropubs in Blyford and Westleton reinforce a tight-knit sense of community in both.
Property in both areas mainly comprises traditional rural cottaging, much of which comes with significant acreage at relatively higher price points, but there are numerous grand estates nearby, including the 18th century Heveningham Hall. Schooling in the area is excellent, with Southwold’s St Felix School a short drive away. Connections to the capital are getting better, too; London Liverpool Street can be reached from Darsham Station via Ipswich in under 90 minutes.
The average property price growth over five years in the Blyford & Westleton area (2015 to 2019)
The average price of a property sold by Knight Frank in the Bylford & Westleton area (above £750,000)
Brixham, South Devon
Christopher Bailey Partner, Head of National Waterfront email@example.com.
The port of Brixham is one of the prettiest in England and is a thriving fishing harbour as well as being a holiday destination, thanks to its mild micro-climate. Brixham is certainly an up-and-coming destination and has recently appeared in The Coast and Real Homes magazines as a place to watch. It's all-year-round community means there is always a sense of vibrancy and activity, especially good for young families, who will also benefit from decent schooling options in town and neighbouring Paignton and Torquay.
Fresh fish (such as the world-famous Brixham crab) can be purchased directly from the harbour, which also plays host to Mitch Tonk’s Rockfish Restaurant, as well as a number of independent coffee shops and delicatessens, bars, pubs and bistros. Fine dining and speciality shopping can also be found in Dartmouth (five miles) and Torquay (seven miles) and both can be reached by passenger ferry.
There are popular beaches within walking distance and also some lovely coastal walks around Berry Head, a national nature reserve, and the Devon coastal path all the way to Dartmouth. For the golf enthusiast, the excellent Churston Golf Course is only two miles away and Dartmouth Golf club is ten miles. The Yacht Club is harbourside and Brixham Marina, a "Freedom Berthing" marina, is a short walk around the harbour.
The average property price growth over five years in Brixham (2015 to 2019)
The average price of a property sold by Knight Frank in Brixham (above £750,000)