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Study – coastal homes fly off the shelf 20 days quicker than pre-pandemic

New data from Rightmove shows a surge in demand for homes in coastal locations from people living in cities, leading to them being snapped up quickly.

Analysis from the portal examined over 120 coastal areas across Great Britain to look at the shift in buyer behaviour compared to before the pandemic.

Back in 2019, it took an average of 71 days to find a buyer for a home in a coastal location. This has now dropped to 51 days – a significant 20 days less.


The norm is for homes in seaside locations to take longer on average to find a buyer than the faster-paced markets in cities. While city markets have also sped up, the average time has dropped to 13 days, putting coastal and city locations level – now taking 51 days to find a buyer on average.

Compared to before the pandemic, the number of city dwellers enquiring about homes in coastal locations has increased by 115%. This compares to a much lower increase of 36% in enquiries from people living in a city enquiring to move but to stay in that city.

Rightmove says this suggests a more sustained shift in buyer preference than initially thought, driven by multiple factors such as the ability to work from home and a re-examining of priorities.

When looking at house prices, those by the coast are performing more strongly than in cities. The average cost of a seaside home increased 7% in 2021 compared to 2019, from £255,075 to £276,165. Meanwhile, the average city property increased by 5%, from £372,878 to £393,013.

Local insight shows some coastal areas experiencing average asking price growth of over 20% compared to 2019. These areas include Helensburgh in Dunbartonshire (27%), Padstow in Cornwall (24%) and Gourock in Renfrewshire (21%).

Examining areas that have seen the biggest increase in prospective buyers searching for a home compared to 2019, often the first sign of increased interest in an area, Dartmouth in Devon tops the list at (117%), alongside Salcombe (112%) and Fowey in Cornwall (111%).

Tim Bannister, director of property data at Rightmove, comments: “Since the start of the year, we’ve tracked the rise in popularity of areas like Cornwall and Devon, where asking prices have steadily risen driven by buyer demand.”

“But what’s really interesting about this research is that it suggests that the initial surge of people enquiring about locations outside of cities has transitioned into a more medium-term shift in behaviour.”

Bannister says while this is not an end to city life, the findings suggest that many buyers are seeing city and coastal locations both as options to consider, driven by multiple factors such as demand for space and the ability to work from home.

He concludes: “All of this does mean that in some of the coastal locations that have seen a significant increase in buyers from other locations, there is added competition as people search for their next home.”


Average asking price 2021

Average asking price 2019

% increase asking price vs 2019

Helensburgh, Dunbartonshire




Padstow, Cornwall




Gourock, Renfrewshire




Hemsby, Norfolk




Girvan, Ayrshire




Newquay, Cornwall




Saundersfoot, Pembrokeshire




Cromer, Norfolk




Whitby, North Yorkshire




Rhyl, Denbighshire





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