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12 Dec 2021

Revealed: the most popular coastal towns to buy a home in Great Britain

Which? offers advice on whether the most popular areas are affordable to first-time buyers

Bournemouth was the most in-demand coastal town for home buyers in 2021, according to a new report by the property portal Rightmove.

In a year where house prices soared as buyers looked further afield for bigger homes, coastal towns continued to grow in popularity.

Here, Which? outlines Great Briain's coastal hotspots, and offers advice on whether the most popular areas are affordable to first-time buyers.

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The most in-demand coastal towns of 2021

Towns on the south coast of England were most popular with homebuyers in 2021, with Bournemouth, Southampton and Brighton the three most sought-after areas to search for a property.

This high demand resulted in rising house prices. Rightmove's research found that asking prices (the listing price of a property when it's put up for sale) in the 10 most popular coastal towns rose by 6%, compared to 5% elsewhere in the country.

The five most in-demand coastal towns of 2021 are detailed below.

1. Bournemouth, Dorset

  • Average asking price: £317,449
  • Asking price increase in 2021: 4%

2. Southampton, Hampshire

  • Average asking price: £249,053
  • Asking price increase in 2021: 4%

3. Brighton, East Sussex

  • Average asking price: £461,796
  • Asking price increase in 2021: 7%

4. Blackpool, Lancashire

  • Average asking price: £137,301
  • Asking price increase in 2021: 8%

5. Poole, Dorset

  • Average asking price: £406,566
  • Asking price increase in 2021: 5%

Where did prices rise the most?

Rightmove's study also analysed the towns where asking prices increased by the most in 2021.

Padstow in Cornwall was this year's hotspot, with asking prices rising by a whopping 20% to reach £548,382.

Whitby in North Yorkshire came in second, with prices rising by 17% to reach £254,218. St.Ives in Cornwall was third, with prices increasing by 15% to hit £473,161.

The interactive map below shows the 10 towns where asking prices rose by the most in 2021.

Do coastal homes sell more quickly?

Rightmove found that the average time it takes for a property to find a buyer fell dramatically in 2021, from 59 days to just 44 days.

Some coastal towns are seeing homes sell much more quckly, however.

Homes in Saltcoats, Ayrshire find buyers in just 19 days, while Troon (also in Ayrshire) sees properties come under offer in 22 days.

The chart below shows the five coastal towns where homes sell most quickly.

Why are people moving to the coast?

Rightmove's new research comes off the back of its recent Happy at Home report, which found people living in coastal towns and villages were likely to be happier than those living inland.

Coastal towns tend to score well for quality of life factors such as sense of community and access to open spaces, and the Covid-19 pandemic has made coastal living more accessible than before.

Tim Bannister of Rightmove says: 'This has been the year that either through changed lifestyle priorities or the ability to work remotely, living in coastal areas has become possible for more buyers, which is reflected in the data we're seeing in this study.'

Is living on the coast an affordable dream?

With the stamp duty holiday super-charging the property market, we've seen property prices rise across the board in 2021, with some areas even seeing double-digit growth.

Rightmove's study suggests, however, that some of the most in-demand coastal areas remain relatively affordable.

Can a first-time buyer afford a home in a coastal hotspot?

Four of the top 10 most in-demand areas - Southampton, Blackpool, Southport and Weston-Super-Mare - have house prices below the average UK price of £269,000.

Let's say you want to buy your first home in one of these areas for £250,000.

You can usually borrow around four-and-a-half times your annual income when taking out a mortgage.

So if you've got a 10% deposit (£25,000), you'd need to have a household income of £50,000 to raise the remaining £225,000. If you've got a 5% deposit (£12,500), you'd need a household income of just under £53,000 to raise the remaining £237,500.

Asking prices vs sold prices

Rightmove's data is based on asking prices rather than sold prices. Estate agents don't always achieve the asking price, so the actual cost of a property may be slightly lower than the figures in this report.

If you want to find out how much homes have sold for recently in a specific town, you can use the Land Registry's tool, which lets you filter house prices by local authority.

If it's a specific property or street you're looking for, you can use the price paid tool. Bear in mind, though, that many homes won't have been sold for a number of years, so the data won't always be useful in your property search.

Mainstreet and houses in Eastbourne, Sussex, Unite

How to find the best place to live

If you're thinking of moving to a new area, the most important thing is to do your research first.

Think about transport links, facilities, schools and crime rates, and spend some time familiarising yourself with the town before rushing in.

Our guide to finding the best place to buy a home contains lots of great advice to help you get started.