Welcome to the 14th edition of Waterfront View, Knight Frank’s annual publication dedicated to showcasing the very finest waterfront properties across the UK and the world beyond.

Since penning this letter a year ago, it’s fair to say the world is a dramatically different place. Who could have foreseen life being upended in such a dramatic way? After reaching a climatic resolution to Brexit, it seemed our attention was steadfastly focused on what life outside of the EU would look like. But the Covid-19 pandemic stopped this all in its tracks. Today, despite the actual shape Brexit will take remaining undecided, our attention is quite rightly focused elsewhere. The intervening period of lockdown has helped many of us revaluate our relationships with loved ones, our careers and futures at large, and of course our work-life balance.

I said last year, people’s attitude towards property has been increasingly shaped by their reckoning with their own mortality. Buyers are looking for homes that will become a generational investment, while those selling wanting to release the capital their property holds, so they can live a different type of lifestyle or pass it onto their families. Covid has only hastened this attitude towards buying or selling for a better lifestyle. And homes beside the water, it seems, are the most favoured type of property among Britons looking to realise these aspirations. There’s little wonder why, when a waterfront home can command as much as an 46% premium in comparison to a similar property just a few hundred yards inland. But when buying by the water, bricks and mortar may be the last thing on your mind­­, it's as much about the view as it is the accompanying lifestyle.

We are seeing the concept of the ‘second home’ disintegrate – at least through the lens of waterfront property – with many owners of a secondary residence electing to stay put and treat it as a primary one. Technology – superfast broadband, digital conferencing and better public transport infrastructure – has become a great enabler. The pandemic and subsequent lockdown has changed – and continues to change – the real estate industry as we speak. The agency model is no longer confined just to an office. But this has required a period for us to adapt, especially when you consider what we sell is an inherently physical product, one that is only truly experienced in the flesh.

From appraising property via a video, to taking prospective buyers on immersive, 360-degree virtual tours, we’ve exceeded expectation in what we believed would be possible, and indeed, what our clients thought would be possible. The same applies to the pages of this ‘magazine’ – albeit interactive pages on a website. When planning this year’s edition of Waterfront View, circumstance dictated that we shelve a print edition and think digitally. While this certainly has been an aspiration for some time, our hand was forced.

However, I’d hope you agree that the pages of this (digital) publication are as slick and well-designed as those in a traditional print magazine and the content as engaging. This is certainly helped by the fantastic array of waterfront property on sale with Knight Frank – the best of which have made the pages of this magazine. Equally we know there will always be a place for the printed version, which we look forward to bringing you again soon. Watch this space.

We really do hope you enjoy reading it and that you gain a greater understanding of how Knight Frank can help you buy or sell the perfect waterfront home. Click through at your leisure and do not hesitate to get in touch if you would like to know more about how we can help – after all, we’re still in the business of people as much as we are property, no matter how you want to reach us.

Christopher Bailey

Partner, Head of National Waterfront

christopher.bailey@knightfrank.com