Living by the sea is an ambition for many, and new research by Bank of Scotland has revealed that it may not be as unaffordable as some might think.
The research found that average property prices by the sea have increased by only £7,980 (6%) over the past five years, which is significantly lower than the rise in house prices seen across Scotland as a whole, with a home in any Scottish town costing £172,833 on average, a rise of 12% over five years.
However, there are undoubtedly some coastal locations that are seen to be more desirable than others, and therefore attract a higher price. North Berwick is apparently one of the most popular and has retained its spot as Scotland’s most expensive seaside town.
"Scotland, with its beautiful coastline, represents fantastic value for money for anyone looking to purchase a seaside property,” explained Graham Blair, mortgage director at Bank of Scotland. “These locations offer a unique lifestyle with a typically high quality of life and a healthy environment.”
“Homebuyers working in Scotland’s major towns and cities no doubt weigh up commute time and the discount they can receive by moving to the seaside,” he said.
Nine of the top ten most expensive properties are apparently to be found on the eastern coastline. For the second year running, the scenic town of North Berwick is the most expensive seaside town with an average house price of £342,346. St Andrews is the second most expensive (£312,063), followed by Newtonhill (£233,855), Stonehaven (£226,687) and Dunbar (£211,392).
In contrast, nine out of the ten least expensive seaside towns are on the western coastline. Millport is the least expensive in Scotland and the UK with an average price of £81,233 and is closely followed by Girvan (£91,459) and Saltcoats (£92,891). Six of the top ten least expensive towns have an average price below £100,000 – a change from last year where all ten were below £100,000.
In England, the most expensive seaside town is Sandbanks in Poole, which has retained this position for the third year running, according to Halifax. Although a home in this sought after coastal location will set you back an average £626,553, both Sandbanks, and the second most expensive seaside town, Salcombe in South Devon, are the only seaside towns in the top 10 to have seen a dip in house prices over the last year by an average £37,494 and £52,702 respectively.
England’s least expensive seaside town is Newbiggin by the Sea in Northumberland, with an average house price of £94,385.
Interestingly, although seaside living is often perceived as desirable, the research found that it didn’t automatically lead to an increase in happiness.
When asked on a scale of one to ten how happy they were, the average happiness rating of the ten most expensive and ten least expensive seaside towns is 7.5 which is the same happiness rating as Scotland as a whole. The happiest coastal homeowners live in Port Bannatyne, Dunoon and Stranraer (7.8), which are three of the least expensive seaside towns in Scotland.
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