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Prices for prime waterfront properties continue to command a premium

Prices for prime waterfront properties are as much as 80% higher than comparable properties inland, climbing to 133% for properties with a private slipway, according to the latest Knight Frank Prime Waterfront Index.

The index, compiled by valuations from Knight Frank’s experts across the country, analyses the potential uplift in value for prime homes on the water’s edge, or within close proximity to water, in comparison to similar properties situated further inland without access to, or a view of, water.

The introduction of a higher stamp duty rate for second home buyers in April 2016 appears to have done little to dampen the enthusiasm for waterfront property, with second home buyers – traditionally an important part of the waterfront properties market – seeming to take a business as usual approach. The stamp duty change has, though, helped to create a more price sensitive market.

“Despite relatively higher purchase prices, the lure of the water remains as strong as ever,” Oliver Knight, research associate at Knight Frank, commented.

“The number of new prospective buyers looking to purchase a waterfront property increased by 24% in 2017 compared to the previous year, according to our figures. Sales volumes were up by 8%. However, the average price of a home sold by the water in 2017 by Knight Frank was just under £1 million, a slight decrease on the long-term average.”

The data found that premiums for waterfront properties vary by location and amenity, reflective of the diverse nature of this type of property across the UK. The largest premiums can be seen in the ‘cliffs, coves and sailing havens’ of the South West, with a value uplift of up to 105%. East Anglia was next up with a premium of 51%, closely followed by the South East with 46%.

In Scotland, meanwhile, the premium for waterfront properties is 44%, while in Wales it is 25%.

The drop in value of the pound versus other currencies since the EU referendum more than two years ago has been to the advantage of non-sterling denominated buyers, with agents noting that demand among overseas buyers has been especially robust.

“The figures are underpinned by the fact that the most desirable coastal towns and cities across the UK hold a global appeal, something that can help shelter such markets from any localised uncertainty,” Knight added. “Our web-search data shows that individuals from all over the world searched for prime waterfront property in the UK last year, led by potential buyers in the United States, Canada, Australia and Germany.”

The research also revealed the importance of having direct access to the water, and how many buyers are willing to pay a premium for it. Private slipways were outlined as the most valuable feature of a waterfront property, pushing up the prime waterfront premium by as much as 133%.

The waterfront premium can rise to 121% and 120% respectively for properties with a private mooring or pontoon. Meanwhile, jetties and private beach access can add a premium of up to 110% and 96%.

Location also matters, with homes situated on estuaries commanding the largest uplift of up to 108% compared to a similar property inland. Thanks to their rarity, prime harbour-side properties experience an uplift of up to 107%, while prime coastal properties are worth up to 77% more than their inland counterparts.

Away from the sea, lakeside homes are 50% more expensive than their waterless equivalent, while being located next to a river can push up the value of a prime residential property by 76%.

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