Property Hot Spots
You hear this buzzword on a regular basis, the next big price rise with the expectation that if you don’t act quickly you will miss the boat. In 2020 during the Pandemic Property Hotspots were seen as anywhere outside major cities, with some outside space to meet friends as no close contact was allowed indoors. Since then HOUSE prices in the city appear to be on the increase, and research suggests more people are now moving closer to the more urbanised areas instead of more rural parts of the UK. Where are the current UK property hotspots? Rightmove property expert Tim Bannister highlights that as pandemic restrictions have been lifted, competition has increased most in areas just outside Birmingham, Newcastle and Manchester, as more people look to be closer to cities either for work or for their lifestyle.
Coastal Areas near Major Cities
1. Weymouth, Dorset. – Average House Price: £264,870
One of England’s first seaside resorts, Weymouth is a glorious timewarp – all Regency terraces, Punch & Judy shows, plus a quaint fishing harbour with a 17th-century waterfront and a statue of George III (erected as a tribute to the King’s visit in 1789). As host to Olympic sailing events in 2012, the town upped its game but it’s still one of the most affordable locations on West Dorset’s Jurassic Coast. On the site of the former ferry port, the Weymouth Peninsula Redevelopment aims to create a ‘new, year-round destination’; and there is a proposal to turn the disused Victorian brewery at Brewers Quay into homes, but a whiff of the past is likely to remain an integral part of Weymouth’s charm.
2. Southend-on-Sea, Essex. – Average House Price: £321,255
London’s nearest seaside resort (an hour or so by train) is often the butt of Essex jokes, but according to Land Registry figures, Southend-on-Sea is the property hotspot of the century – with prices rising faster than anywhere outside the capital. It also offers good employment prospects and excellent schools (its four grammar schools are all rated as outstanding) – and yet prices are still lower than much of the south-east commuter belt. And if you think it’s all amusement arcades and crazy golf, Southend also has some fine houses (particularly in Westcliff and the Clifftown Conservation area).
3. Broadstairs, Kent. – Average House Price: £379,633
A Zoopla report put Broadstairs into the top five places for property price growth in 2018; it’s also the most expensive of Kent’s three Isle of Thanet towns (the others are Margate and Ramsgate) but it’s arguably the prettiest, too, with cliff-top gardens and a distinct village atmosphere. According to Edward Church of Strutt & Parker, the town is a ‘paradise for young children’ thanks to Blue Flag beaches and good schools. ‘What makes the town really special is the lovely little bays and enclosed sandy beaches – like Joss Bay and Botany Bay,’ he says, adding that Broadstairs tends to attract young families moving from London.
4. Worthing, West Sussex. – Average House Price: £338,890
Move over Brighton: this south coast town is shaking off its reputation as an old-fashioned retirement haven and introducing ‘Creative Worthing’. Huts on the town’s East Beach have been converted into artists’ studios, there is the Colonnade House Creative Hub (affordable workspace for artists, makers and designers) and the Cellar Arts Club. Add theatres, galleries, the Grade II-listed Dome Cinema (the UK’s oldest working picture house dates from 1911) and the Southern Pier Pavilion (for live gigs). It’s got a lot to offer young families, too – and some excellent properties from Georgian to Art Deco. And Brighton is only 11 miles away.
5. Barry, South Wales. – Average House Price: £189,750
House prices in Wales reached an all-time peak in 2018 – with the southeast corner seeing the highest rises. Much of the action focused around the Vale of Glamorgan at the heart of which is Barry: a once-industrial Bristol Channel port best known for its vintage Butlin’s (now Barry Island Pleasure Park). The beach at nearby Whitmore is a cracker (more good beaches at Ogmore, Llantwit Major and Penarth) and there are some fine houses, particularly in Barry’s West End. On the jobs front, Cardiff is only nine miles away (the airport is even closer) and it’s worth noting that the abolition of Seven Bridge tolls last year has saved daily commuters to Bristol up to £1,400 per year.
Although my business is based in Nottinghill, I commute from Lewes into London, but during lockdown and working from home, I discovered the area I have lived in for the last 20 years some of which was undiscovered. My preference has been long walks on the various beaches nearby, restful sea air during various dog walks and a lungful of sea air. There are many Property Hot Spot options, so many more now Covid restrictions have eased.