Have you always wanted to live by the sea? Do you imagine walking barefoot along the beach inhaling the fresh sea air? Or can you picture yourself sitting with your easel painting the dramatic coastline? Maybe you can see yourself clocking off early when the surf is good. Despite our unpredictable weather, so many Brits dream of living by the sea.
A recent survey of 2,000 UK adults has revealed that almost 60% of Brits yearn to own a home near the water. More precisely, 43 per cent ranked the coast as their ideal home location while 16% said they’d prefer a riverside pad.
This news may not come as a surprise to most as being close to nature, especially the sea, has long been considered good for one’s health and mental wellbeing.
The Victorians certainly thought so as they flocked to resorts such as Bournemouth, Brighton and Blackpool building their seaside piers, promenades and beach huts. Queen Victoria and her husband Albert even fell for the charms of the British coastline building Osborne House a royal palace on the Isle of Wight which they used for family holidays.
|Table 1. In which of the following locations would you like to have your dream home located? *|
|On the coast||43%|
|In the countryside||31%|
|In a village||25%|
|In or near to a national park or Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty||21%|
|In a suburban residential area||19%|
|Alongside a river||16%|
|In a city or large town||15%|
|Near major transport links||13%|
|*Respondents were asked to pick their top three dream locations|
Modern science has backed up the Victorians’ health benefit beliefs. “Sea air is good for sleep because it is generally cleaner and fresher air, with higher levels of oxygen, which can improve sleep,” Dr Natasha Bijlani, a consultant psychiatrist at the Priory’s Roehampton Hospital, London explains. “The sound of waves can be very soothing to the brain. If you relax this can help clear the mind, lower stress levels and strengthen the immune system.”
While most Brits said they’d love to live by the sea, more than three out of ten dreamed of living in the countryside, the research from UK homebuilder Redrow found. In fact, a rural home was their second favourite dream location. More than two in ten (21 per cent) of the respondents specified their desire to settle in or near to a national park or Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). Having recently celebrated their 70th anniversary, national parks are considered a good investment – with property prices in each of the UK’s 15 national parks experiencing price rises over the last five years, according to data from estate agent Savills. The estate agent’s research also found that out of the top 20 local authorities ranked by happiness, four are on situated on the coast while ten are located within National Parks or AONBs.
|Table 2. In which of the following locations would you like to have your dream home located?*||North East||North West||Yorkshire and Humberside||East Midlands||West Midlands||East of England||London||South East||South West|
|On the coast||34 %||39 %||43 %||47 %||39 %||49 %||32 %||44 %||48 %|
|In the countryside||34 %||29 %||41 %||37 %||36 %||32 %||23 %||29 %||31 %|
|In a village||29 %||23 %||27 %||30 %||23 %||32 %||19 %||25 %||29 %|
|In or near to a national park or AONB||25 %||23 %||25 %||22 %||21 %||20 %||23 %||21 %||19 %|
|In a suburban residential area||19 %||22 %||16 %||13 %||25 %||13 %||33 %||15 %||16 %|
|Alongside a river||14 %||17 %||13 %||14 %||10 %||17 %||20 %||14 %||18 %|
|In a city or large town||15 %||15 %||12 %||12 %||11 %||11 %||31 %||15 %||11 %|
|Near major transport links||5 %||15 %||9 %||15 %||9 %||12 %||24 %||12 %||10 %|
|Other||4 %||1 %||1 %||3 %||0 %||3 %||1 %||0 %||1 %|
*Respondents were asked to pick their top three dream locations
This research is in line with Office for National Statistics’ (ONS) mid-2018 migration data which showed that the South West, well-known for its stunning coastline, experienced the greatest internal migration net flow, with more people moving to local authorities (30.5 people per 1,000 population) within the region than those leaving (25 people per 1,000 population).
Redrow’s research saw a clear preference for living by the coast from respondents in every UK region – apart from London where more people wanted to live in a suburban residential area. Almost a third of Londoners (32 per cent) did want to live by the coast, but a similar percentage (31 per cent) preferred city living. Just under a quarter (24 per cent) of those in the Capital cited living near major transport links as important – the highest percentage of all regions and more than 10 percentage points higher than the country average of 13 per cent (see table 2).
When it comes to the younger generation of aspiring and current homeowners aged between 18 and 34, living near the coast ranked fifth place in terms of preference. Most respondents within this age group (31 per cent) wanted to live in a suburban residential area while 30 per cent wanted to live in the countryside and a smaller percentage (27 per cent) expressed the wish to live in a city or large town (see table 3 below).
|Table 3. In which of the following locations would you like to have your dream home located? *||18-34 years old||35-54 years old||55+ years old|
|On the coast||24 %||46 %||53 %|
|In the countryside||30 %||37 %||28 %|
|In a village||26 %||23 %||27 %|
|In or near to a national park or Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty||21 %||24 %||19 %|
|In a suburban residential area||31 %||14 %||15 %|
|Alongside a river||15 %||19 %||14 %|
|In a city or large town||27 %||12 %||9 %|
|Near major transport links||18 %||9 %||12 %|
|Other||0 %||1 %||2 %|
|*Respondents were asked to pick their top three dream locations|
Claire Jarvis, Group Sales Director at Redrow, the UK housebuilder that commissioned the research conducted by market research firm Opinium, said: “From seaside spots to suburban towns and quaint villages, the UK’s property market offers buyers a huge variety of destinations to consider. Residing beside the water has long been and continues to be an aspiration for British homeowners – as highlighted by our latest research and strong sales at The Fairways in Herne Bay and Temple Wharf in Strood. However, it is interesting to see homes in residential towns in demand from both Londoners and those aged between 18 and 34 years old.”
Rachael Baillie, Sales Director at Redrow South East, commented: “We find that customers are tempted by the laidback life the seaside offers.”
 ONS Population estimates for the UK, England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland: mid-2018. Flows are expressed per 1,000 to allow comparison where population sizes differ.