Sixty Plus Surfers, November ‘22

Buying a coastal property advice

Quoting Nick Cunningham, Edward Jephson, Clare Coode, Amanda Ake and James Law of Stacks Property Finders

The first rule of buying a coastal property is to buy after the holidays. However black the economic clouds may be, it seems that the outlook for coastal property remains relentlessly sunny.

James Law of Stacks Property Search on the Dorset coast says, “Demand for anything immediately adjacent to the sea continues unabated, despite prices that have risen by as much as 30% over the last two years. It’s hard to see that changing any time soon, even in the face of rising interest rates and cost of living, and the threat of recession. Anything frontline can have a premium of as much as 50%, and ‘sea glimpse’ properties show a premium of around 25%.”

The message is the same from Stacks Property Search offices in Devon, Cornwall and Somerset. So how can buyers looking for at least a whiff of the sea find a property that doesn’t require bottomless pockets?

James Law of Stacks Property Search in Dorset says, “Not all times of year are the same. After summer usage, seaside houses, like boats and cabriolet cars, tend to come onto the market. The time to get busy as a buyer is once the long hot summer holiday is over. Buying a coastal property in the Spring will make the job much harder as demand rises, and invariably more expensive.”

Ed Jephson of Stacks Property Search in south Devon says, “Going slightly inland is always a good strategy for getting better value for money, and there are other benefits. For example, Kingsbridge which is a few of miles inland from Salcombe has great access to seaside and country, and prices on the waterfront are ballpark 10 to 15% lower than its high-profile neighbour.

“Or head for the edge of Dartmoor where you’ll get more ‘’bang for your buck’ than on the coast and yet the sea is still within easy reach. Dartmoor itself offers a wonderful contrast to the hustle and bustle of the coast, with fresh air and country walks and if you want to get wet there are some wonderful wild swimming spots in many of the clear-watered rivers that wind through.

“Many buyers are drawn to South Hams, but the premiums can be high, and it can be busy during the summer months. So, we quite often take advantage of typically less expensive properties a few miles inland and benefit from easy access to the moor as well as the coast and get the best of both worlds.

“If you do end up close to the sea, then a boat is often all part of the dream of relocating down here. You’ll sure to be away from the crowds out at sea and will have access to otherwise inaccessible beaches. Just make sure you keep it somewhere that it’s easy to get to! It may not be very glamorous, but a ‘dry stack’ arrangement such as Plymouth Yacht Haven or Blackness marine takes away all the stress of tides and access to moorings.

“If you’re not prepared to compromise on the waterside element of your search, seek out less fashionable locations. In south Devon head east of the South Hams and immerse yourself in the slowly upping and coming towns and villages around  Brixham and Torquay or further east in Shaldon and Teignmouth.”

Amanda Ake of Stacks Property Search says, “The north Somerset coast has been underrated for way too long, and the smart money is exploring the stretch to the north of Taunton including towns and villages such as Clevedon, Portishead, Walton Bay and Watchet that benefit from easy access from Bristol, and the added advantage of the glorious Quantock hills.

Nick Cunningham of Stacks Property Search says, “The North Devon Coast is one of the most picturesque in the SouthWest and home to a spectacular section of the South West Coastal Path. Croyde and Woolacombe beaches offer world class surfing, and the area has recently become Britain’s first World Surfing Reserve. Lesser known but stunning beaches can also be found at Mortehoe, Bideford, Lynton and Lynmouth, Combe Martin, Clovelly and Ilfracombe.

“If you’re looking to buy here only consider a property and location that will meet your long-term needs. If you want neighbours and a strong community don’t buy in a tourist location that will be quiet in Winter.

“For value in prime locations on the North Devon Coast consider new builds and even large apartments in prime locations to make your budget go further. Inland you might consider solid bungalows with good parking, views, and the potential to extend.

Barnstable is the regional capital and five-bedroom Georgian houses can be found for around £450,000. If you’re a nature lover who really wants to get away from it all head for the unspoilt coastal parts of Hartland Point, just above the Cornish border.”

Clare Coode says, “It’s hard to find a bargain in the coastal hot spots of mid-Cornwall, whether north or south, so for a sea view my advice would be to look at the overlooked east of the county, or spend half an hour extra in the car and go west. With the current widening of the A30, west of Truro will soon be much easier to get to, and prices for a house in Portreath or Marazion will be half the price of a similar house in Polzeath or St Mawes.

“Of course these areas don’t have the same amenities but they represent good value if you are not wedded to the social cache of owning a house in prime Cornwall.

“If you don’t mind getting in the car to hit the beach then Cornish towns such as Wadebridge or Lostwithiel also have charm, and prices can be as little as a quarter of those you would pay on the coast.”

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