Living by the seaside is healthier: is it worth the money?

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Scientists have discovered proof that living by the seaside is officially good for you. It highlighted 'small but significant' differences in the health and wellbeing of people who live within 1km of the sea.

Unfortunately, you'll have to pay for this better health.


The research, published in the journal Health and Place, looked at the data of everyone in England from the census information in 2001. They correlated the distance people lived from the sea with questions about their health. And they found that people living within 1km of the sea were noticeably healthier.

They didn't come to any firm conclusions as to why this should be the case, but suggested a few possible answers. The lead researcher Dr Ben Wheeler told the BBC: "One of the most obvious is the opportunity for physical activity or being more motivated to go for a walk along the coast." He also suggested that the seaside could be more relaxing and the pace of life slower - which is linked to better health outcomes.

However, there's a third option - living by the seaside is more expensive, and it could simply be another version of the common finding that wealthier people tend to live longer and be healthier - due to better diet and education about what makes the healthy.

More expensive

Seaside towns generally command a premium. A survey in May found that the average house prices in the most expensive seaside towns in Britain were around twice the average house price in the UK. Salcombe commands an impressive average of £528,920, while a typical house in Sandbanks will set you back £525,927.

And prices are rising quickly too. The annual Halifax Seaside Town Review found that in the last ten years, house prices have more than doubled in half of the seaside towns in England and Wales.

Martin Ellis, housing economist at Halifax, explained: "Seaside towns are still very popular places to live. They offer a unique lifestyle that for many can't be matched elsewhere, with that all important sea view, together with a typically high quality of life and a healthy environment."

The question, therefore, is whether it is worth paying a premium to live by the seaside, in the hope that it'll help you stay healthier for longer.

What do you think? Is there something in this study, or is this just a quirk of statistics that favours any richer areas? Let us know in the comments.

10 Most Expensive Seaside Towns in England & Wales (average house price)

Salcombe £528,920
Sandbanks £525,927
Aldeburgh £418,415
Padstow £382,806
Dartmouth £381,788
Lyme Regis £373,841
Lymington £350,287
Wadebridge £348,986
Budleigh Salterton £348,514
Bigbury on Sea £319,557

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