Do you dream of a waking up to sea views? Whether you're looking to buy a second home or planning a permanent move, you can expect to pay a premium for coastal living. According to the Halifax, average house prices in the UK's seaside towns have increased by a third over the past decade.
If money is not an issue, South Devon is home to some of the most glorious coves and long sandy beaches in the country. Check out Totnes, Dartmouth, Kingsbridge or Salcombe for charming character properties or head to the 'English Rivera' towns of Torquay, Paignton and Brixham for palm tree-lined seafronts, millionaire yachts and white villa-style apartments with stunning sea views.
Figures from the Halifax show that the average property price in a seaside town is now £208,729 - 31% higher than the £159,522 recorded in 2005. Unsurprisingly, Devon is home to the most expensive seaside property - the average home in Salcombe costs £672, 874.
In Devon, the rugged north coastline offers more affordable property compared to the 'English Rivera' towns on the south coast. North of the A30 prices drop considerably. In Barnstaple prices are around 30% cheaper than similar properties in Exeter while Ilfracombe's housing is as much as 40% cheaper than that on the south coast.
The 30 miles of sandy beaches and rock pools that make up the region's Jurassic coast are home to some seaside treasures - delightful thatched cottages in Budleigh Salterton, glorious Georgian architecture in Sidmouth and quaint streets in the touristy fishing village of Beer.
All 10 of the UK's most expensive seaside towns are in the South of England, according to the Halifax. After Salcombe, the UK's most expensive coastal town is Dorset's Sandbanks, which has an average property price of £614,726.
Trains from Brighton to London take just under an hour, making it a popular choice for commuters. There are two new Hyde Homes Developments aimed at young first-time buyers worth checking out: SuperB in Brighton, with prices starting from £399,950, and One Hove Park in neighbouring Hove, with shared-ownership deals at £177,500 for a 50 per cent share of a two-bedroom apartment.
Prices drop the further you go out of Brighton, with more affordable housing to be found in Worthing, which has a similar pebble beach. Further into West Sussex, some of the cheapest areas to buy include Littlehampton (part sandy beach) and Bognor Regis. In East Sussex, Hastings has some of the cheapest property in the area, with good-quality family homes available for under £400,000.
Property prices in some areas of Devon and Cornwall have increased by more than 30 per cent in recent years, in part due to wealthy Londoners purchasing holiday homes. The Cornish coast offers idyllic scenery but comes with a pretty price tag. A two-bedroom waterfront cottage in Polperro, Looe will set you back £525,000, for example.
Isle of Wight
The Isle of Wight attracts more than a million visitors each year, drawn to its warm climate, stunning coastline and, of course, Cowes Week. Only two hours away from London, the Isle of Wight is popular with holiday-home buyers, retirement relocators and families looking for a gentler pace of life.
House prices on the Isle of Wight are generally lower than most of the South but more than most of the Midlands and North of England. As of February 2015, the average property on the Isle of Wight was £220,000. The most expensive towns are Yarmouth (average sold price of £350,000), Bembridge (£330,000) and Totland Bay (£270,000). The cheapest houses are in Ryde (£195,000) and East Cowes (£187,000).
If you're drawn to living in a pretty coastal town, Ventnor, (average sold price £237,000) is popular with buyers for its Victorian and Edwardian properties that give the town its traditional seaside charm. Steep roads lead down to the pretty New England-style harbour with its yachts and excellent seafood restaurants. Ventnor enjoys its own micro-climate thanks to the St Boniface Downs, which shelter the town from wind and rain.
Property group Savills has earmarked Kent as "the talked about region for seaside living" with Deal and Ramsgate expected to lead the next wave of British coastal towns. The company studied south coast towns in England with an average sale price in 2014 of less than £250,000 and looked at those that have seen the biggest rise in the past 10 years - indicating that they are up and coming.
Similarly, Southend-on-sea in Essex experienced the highest property price rises in the country in 2013, according to the Halifax. Once considered a faded seaside town, Southend has benefitted from a new theatre, art gallery, and library, in recent years.
Sophie Chick, analyst at Savills, said: "Many of the beautiful towns such as Salcombe have now become unaffordable for many but Kent offers good value and house prices rises show the area is in the first phase of taking off."
Are you considering a move to England's south coast? Leave a comment below...Are you planning an escape to the coast or country? Leave a comment below...