A deep dive into Rightmove’s data by the portal itself has discovered that there’s one sector where homes sell 20 days quicker now than before the pandemic - and its the coast.
The analysis examined over 120 coastal areas across Great Britain, to look at the shifts in buyer behaviour compared to before the pandemic.
Back in 2019 it was taking an average 71 days to find a buyer for a home in a coastal location. That has now dropped to 51 days, a drop of almost three weeks.
The norm is for homes in coastal locations to take longer on average to find a buyer than the faster paced markets in cities. While city markets have also accelerated, the average time there has dropped by only 13 days.
This puts coastal locations and cities level, now taking 51 days to find a buyer on average.
Compared to before the pandemic, the number of buyers living in cities sending enquiries to estate agent about homes in costal locations has increased by 115 per cent.
This compares to a much more modest increase of 36 per cent 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.
Prices of homes by the coast are also performing more strongly than in cites. The average cost of a coastal home increased seven per cent in 2021 compared to 2019, from £255,075 to £272,165, while an average city property increased by five per cent, from £372,878 to £393,013.
Looking locally, some coastal areas have seen average asking price growth of over 20 per cent compared to 2019. The areas that saw the sharpest rises were Helensburgh in Dunbartonshire (up 27 per cent), Padstow in Cornwall (up 24 per cent) and Gourock in Renfrewshire (up 21 per cent).
When looking at 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, (up a jaw-dropping 117 per cent) alongside Salcombe also in Devon (112 per cent) and Fowey in Cornwall (111 per cent).
Rightmove’s Director of Property Data Tim Bannister says: “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 before the pandemic, has transitioned into a more medium term shift in behaviour.
“While this is by no means an end to city life or a mass exodus, it does suggest that many buyers are seeing city and coastal locations both as options to consider, driven by multiple factors that we’ve seen this year – such as demand for space, and the ability to work from home. 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.”