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Does a Waterside Home flow into a Sound Investment?

According to estate agent Jackson-Stops’ annual Waterside Review, the average price paid for homes in waterside postcodes have risen by 23 per cent in five years.

Whilst the average price paid showed a nominal increase from 2018 to 2019 of just £850, in 2021 to 2022 the waterside premium jumped to £32,760.

For the first time in five years, the waterside market is outpacing the wider housing market, with prices growing by an average 10 per cent annually by the end of 2022 compared to the UK average of eight per cent.


Some 57 per cent of waterside properties sold above guide price in 2022.

Nick Leeming, chairman of Jackson-Stops, says: “It’s long been reported that our waterside homes - properties looking over rivers, lakes, canals and sea - are some of the UK’s most recession-proof property types. Their tranquillity combined with their scarcity tend to offer a winning combination for many buyers, often benefitting the most from house price booms, like the one we saw in 2021 during the race for space, for both green and blue landscapes.”

Jackson-Stops’ review found that it was locations inland overlooking rivers and streams that topped the charts for consistently high waterside premiums in comparison to seaside settings. 

The best performers were  waterside properties in Wrexham, close to the River Clywedog, carrying a premium of 64 per cent when compared to non-waterside postcodes in the area. In Wokingham, Berkshire, along the River Thames, this premium was 37 per cent, whilst in Cheshire, along the River Dee, it was 32 per cent.

Compared to coastal locations, it was only the traditional seaside hotspots of Brighton & Hove (78 per cent) and Bournemouth & Poole (36 per cent) that conducted premiums on a par with riverside location inland. 

Leeming continues: “Certainly those homes that come with moorings and direct water frontage, are absolutely gold dust. Planning permission can be hard fought to build on these already populated locations due to their proximity to water - we often see developers get there first. What this means is those homes that offer this unique waterside lifestyle often operate in their own sub-market, far exceeding anything similar inland. On some occasions, they can sell for a 20 to 30 per cent premium when the market conditions are right.”

According to Jackson-Stops’ own national branch data, which spans across the UK, 57 per cent of waterside properties listed sold above guide price in 2022, which is an increase on the 52 per cent in 2021, and significantly higher than the 27 per cent in 2020. 

This feeds into the wider trend of waterside sold prices steadily increasing to an average four per cent above asking prices in 2022, moving from the minus one per cent seen five years previously, highlighting just how the pull of waterside living is yet to relinquish.

The agency uses four of its key agents to promote different local investment opportunities.

Crispin Harris, Director of Jackson-Stops’ in Cheshire, says: “The River Dee acts as a magnet for buyers, here. Families are drawn to the idyls of a life by water, whilst investors are tempted by the higher capital returns over time that a waterside home can harness compared to others. As the demand for waterfront properties increases, their value may also increase, making them a potentially lucrative investment. However, it's important to note that not all waterfront properties are created equal, and factors such as the size of the body of water, proximity to amenities, and overall condition of the property can also impact its value.”

Crispin continues, “A growing trend in our market is from downsizers looking for a tranquil riverside view. Apartments and houses in elevated positions do well, especially those with large terraces for wistful summer afternoons hearing the gentle rhythms of the water. There is a growing body of research that suggests that living near water can have positive effects on both physical and mental wellness. More blue space can allow for some fun hobbies too - I’ve never seen so many people take up paddle boarding as I did last summer.”

Tim Dansie, Director Jackson-Stops Ipswich, comments: “Waterside properties carry a strong price premium for a number of reasons, with almost everyone dreaming of waking up to a beautiful waterfront view. Whether it’s the sense of tranquillity of the constantly changing landscape, the ebb and flow of the tide, or the sound of seabirds and spotting of waterside wildlife, these homes are a ceaseless source of desire. From older couples looking to downsize by the coast, to families seeking access for sporting activities, a waterside lifestyle is a longing for many. During the pandemic in particular, these rare properties saw a swell in demand from city-escapees hoping to enjoy the fresh air and range of pursuits the area has to offer. The desire for waterside properties means they are an excellent investment and always guarantee your money back.”

Andrew Richardson, Director at Jackson-Stops Chichester, adds: “West Sussex scoring waterside premiums of 13% does not come as any surprise. With picturesque former fishing villages dotted along our coastline, attracting sky high prices for direct water frontage is commonplace. There is not enough property to go round. What’s next for the waterside market? Waterside homes have undoubtedly gone up in price, easily 10 per cent since this time last year. West Strand in West Wittering is arguably the best road on the UK coast, where a £400,000 property 10 years ago would now sell for upwards of £3million. Water always bucks the trend.”

And Nick Ferrier, Director at Jackson-Stops Midhurst, states: “We’ve seen rivers being better managed as the cold-water lifestyle has lifted off. The popularity of water sports expanded to our rivers during lockdown, from an explosion in paddle-boarders to things like Kite Surfing across lakes. Vendors often say to me how they’ve paddle boarded from here to there, becoming a centre point for conversations as the summer approaches.

“When people say they want waterside, they want to be able to see water from their home and feel that connection to nature. There is huge prestige in an estuarian view in which the tidal changes add interest, creating a long-established kudos. Estuary locations like Burnham Market, Itchenor and Dartmouth are consistently popular. Many people holiday here too; they’ll go there every year, feel very familiar with the houses right along the frontage, and when they become available, they can often be the ones to buy them, knowing just how rare they are.”

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    Interesting. I have a waterside property in Aylesbury which is not in t he least idyllic but it is essentially, "moated" which means no through traffic, no further development. The small estate is always clean and tidy.
    There is a lot to be said for a waterside boundary besides the view.


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