Seaside towns get serious. Wish you lived here?

As the sunshine has finally broken through the rainclouds we were inspired to take a look at house price movements close to the English coast – and it highlighted some very hot hotspots …

Think of the traditional English seaside and we think of seasonal silliness: cheeky postcards, Punch and Judy, sticks of rock and the lure of the pier.

But times change. The seaside town has become seriously popular with metropolitans fed up with overpriced houses and a limited lifestyle in town. Where once a day trip was enough, people are moving lock, stock and family to the classic English seaside towns. For the price of a small flat in London you can get a four bedroom family home with quality of life attached – good schools, space, fresh air, and thriving arts and independent retailers for the grown-ups.

A comparison of the period from January to May 2016, with the same period in 2015, finds 15 ‘coastal markets’ that have experienced double-digit house price growth. Margate scores highest with 19.4 per cent. This is against a national average annual price growth of 8.1 per cent.

Margate has undergone a significant transformation. Only 90 minutes by train from London, it has long been a destination for day-trippers. But like so many of the seaside towns identified below in Table 1, it has shaken off its down-at-heel reputation for seedy B&B’s and miserable food and developed some of the sophistication of the city.

For Margate, the opening of the Turner Contemporary gallery in 2011, supported by local girl Tracey Emin, gave the town serious artistic credentials and its appeal continues to grow.

And Margate is not alone. We took a look at housing trends in markets near to the English coastline and found some places on an upward curve.

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Dataloft has divided the UK into housing market areas and identified 326 in England, of which 60 are ‘coastal markets’. We analysed each of these coastal markets looking at annual price growth, annual turnover and average prices.

Of the 60, we found that 15 have experienced double-digit house price growth in the last year (Jan to May 2016 compared to Jan to May 2015).

Ramsgate, sneaks in just behind top-placed Margate, with house price growth at 17.3 per cent, followed by Deal at 15.4 per cent. Not surprisingly, both share Margate’s proximity to London, along with their own sense of tradition and plentiful supply of charming, affordable housing.

Table 2, below, shows the average sale prices for our top 15 locations and the rate of turnover – the number of homes sold as a proportion of all privately owned homes. Despite clocking the fastest rate of growth, Margate has the lowest average price at £187,572, and is the only location to come in below £200,000. Turnover gives us an idea of how active the market is – the more sales, the higher rate of turnover. It ranged from 3.8% to 6.5% in our 60 coastal markets and unsurprisingly, those with the highest growth also had higher rates of activity.

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Note re Methodology:

Dataloft housing market areas:

  • Outside London: Local housing market areas (HMAs) defined by the former government quango ‘National Housing and Policy Advice Unit’. Based on 2001 wards.
  • Within regions, Dataloft subdivided HMAs that contain more than one large urban area (>30,000 population).
  • HMAs were split along Output Area boundaries equi-distant between the identified large urban areas within the catchment.
  • London – central London sub-markets based on Dataloft areas. For the rest of London the HMAs were divided using NHPAU HMAs and TfL zones. Adjustments were made to neighbouring HMA boundaries that included parts of Greater London.
  • Best-fit postcode sectors were matched to the areas.