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Bargains-on-sea: You don’t have to spend a fortune moving to the coast

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There’s been a well-trodden and much publicised exodus from cities since the pandemic struck, with hundreds of thousands of Londoners heading for the countryside. 

Coastal towns, in particular, are proving to be enticing destinations.

‘Walking around Dartmouth at Christmas, before the third lockdown, I decided this was where I wanted to live,’ says Penny Lowe, a fiftysomething IT executive from Reading. ‘I love the sea, the people are friendly; I could work from home, so I went for it.’

Retro charm: Cromer in North Norfolk. The town has two blue flag beaches and the last end-of-the-pier show in Europe

Retro charm: Cromer in North Norfolk. The town has two blue flag beaches and the last end-of-the-pier show in Europe

According to Roger Punch, of estate agents Marchand Petit, Penny is typical of many homebuyers who have moved to the coast. 

‘Lockdown has focused their minds, making a fantasy a reality,’ he says.

‘Broadband and Zoom make working from home quite easy; watersports such as kayaking and surfing are popular and people have this primeval urge to escape Covid by breathing in the clean sea air.’

Sadly, coastal properties do not come cheap. Penny’s home, a new-build overlooking the sea, cost £625,000; way beyond most people’s budgets. 

And according to Rightmove, coastal hotspots such as Dartmouth saw some of the steepest rises in house prices during 2020.

The good news is there are also coastal towns that do not have the cachet of Padstow, Aldeburgh or Salcombe, yet they are ‘on the up’.

Here are four where you get a sea view and far more house for your money.

Barry in Wales is now home to a microbrewery, theatre and shipping container village

Barry in Wales is now home to a microbrewery, theatre and shipping container village

All about Barry

That’s right, the ‘lush’ little Gavin & Stacey Welsh town with the pearl of a beach and the amusement arcade overseen by Nessa. A bit run-down, you may say.

True, the two main streets have seen better days, but Barry is now home to Goodsheds, developed by local businessman Simon Baston, with a gym, microbrewery, community theatre, outdoor cinema and shipping container village containing staycation apartments.

Michelin-starred chef James Sommerin opened a restaurant here, as did Samantha Evans and Shauna Guinn of BBC’s Sam And Shauna’s Big Cook-Out.

The average price of a terrace home last year in Barry was £171,000, compared to £260,000 in Mumbles, 47 miles away. 

At Cold Knap, modern homes overlooking the beach cost from £385,000 (peteralan.co.uk). ‘Tidy,’ as Nessa would say.

Brilliant Bognor

Ever since King George V was, reputedly, rude about Bognor Regis in West Sussex, the South Coast town has been the butt of jokes: a by-word for seaside tackiness.

‘That’s so unfair,’ says regeneration adviser Rebecca White. ‘Since 2007, half a billion pounds has been invested in the town, giving it a massive face-lift.’

The result is a shopping centre joining the station to the seafront where there is an old-school promenade with adventure golf, shellfish stalls as well as Butlin’s Splash Park, unrecognisable from its Hi-de-Hi! prototype.

The average detached home sold for £435,000 last year, but the flagship properties are the restored heritage buildings on the seafront: Esplanade Grande, Compass Point and The Royal.

A two-bedroom flat in The Royal with bay windows, a pebble’s throw from the sea, was recently on sale for £240,000.

Charming seahouses

For best value look to the Northumberland coast, with its big skies and windswept dunes. Bamburgh is popular, while Seahouses, with its pitch-and-putt and excellent chip shop, is a thriving community where people live all year round; it is not purely a resort.

Little wonder people are cottoning on to its gritty charm. The average house cost £247,000 last year: 17 per cent up on 2019.

Blue flag Cromer   

It may not yet have the social lure of other North Norfolk coastal towns, but there is a buzz of expectancy in Cromer.

‘It’s similar to the vibe in Notting Hill Gate in the 1960s,’ says Tim Hayward of Jackson-Stops. 

‘There is all this good quality housing stock – much of it Victorian – and people are only now beginning to appreciate it.’

Cromer has a retro charm, with lots of independently run restaurants and cafes. It has two blue flag beaches and the last end-of-the-pier show in Europe.

‘Cromer has always had its retirees from London,’ says Tim Stevens, of Humberts. ‘Now we are seeing young work from homers buying here, too.’

The average price of a detached house in the town last year was £352,000. Flats cost on average £167,000.

On the market… by the beach 

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Evo Industrial acquires London warehouse (GB)

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Bradda Capital has sold a prime last-mile logistics site in southeast London to Evo Industrial for over €9.3m (£8m). The 3.4-acre site, One Church Manorway, is located in an established industrial area in Erith and has significant development potential. In September 2020, Bradda obtained planning consent to demolish the current 37,662ft² warehouse and to construct a new 60,687ft² facility with a BREEAM sustainability rating of “Very Good”.

 

David Phillips, managing director of Bradda Capital, said: “We are delighted with the level of bidding interest in the site, which reflected the strength of the logistics real estate market. It is an investment that we bought 10 years ago for income with an eye on the growing demand for warehousing in the London area. With leases at expiry, we realised the potential for adding significant value by securing planning consent for a much larger facility of more than three times the volume”.

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Inside six of the most unusual homes for sale on Rightmove

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A £10million mansion with its own vineyard that produces 100,000 bottles of wine a year and a former nuclear bunker costing £50,000 feature in the most unusual homes picked by property website Rightmove.

All six of the most unique homes for sale on the property website made the list for their standout features.

Tim Bannister, of Rightmove, said: ‘It’s such a joy to be able to share these wonderfully unusual properties with the rest of the nation. 

‘From a former nuclear bunker on the south coast to an apartment with a cinema in an underground cave, each one is totally out of the ordinary.’

Here are the six most unusual properties for sale on Rightmove…

1. Former nuclear bunker, Folkestone, £50,000 

Included in the list of most unusual properties on Rightmove is this former Royal Observer Corps nuclear bunker

Included in the list of most unusual properties on Rightmove is this former Royal Observer Corps nuclear bunker

The bunker has a monitoring post with rooms several metres underground, and was built by the Ministry of Defence in 1971

The bunker has a monitoring post with rooms several metres underground, and was built by the Ministry of Defence in 1971

Could you live here? The property in Folkestone has main road access, while the bunker remains in good structural condition

Could you live here? The property in Folkestone has main road access, while the bunker remains in good structural condition

A robust property: Rightmove has described the bunker as 'one of the most impenetrable properties' on its website

A robust property: Rightmove has described the bunker as ‘one of the most impenetrable properties’ on its website

The property is in an area of outstanding natural beauty on the Kent coastline, with views across the sea towards France

The property is in an area of outstanding natural beauty on the Kent coastline, with views across the sea towards France

It’s one of the most impenetrable properties on Rightmove – and this former Royal Observer Corps nuclear bunker in Folkestone is available to buy.

It has a guide price of £50,000, but it is being sold auction via Miles & Barr estate agents, with properties at auction often being sold for more than the initial asking figure.

The bunker includes a monitoring post with rooms several metres underground, and it was built by the Ministry of Defence in 1971.

It is in an area of outstanding natural beauty, opposite the North Downs Way walking path, with views from the site across the sea towards France.

2. Two-bed flat in Nottingham, £325,000 

From outside, there is no indication of the unusual features contained within this two-bedroom flat in Nottingham

From outside, there is no indication of the unusual features contained within this two-bedroom flat in Nottingham

Steps lead down to the lower ground floor flat, which is currently on the market for £325,000 estate agents Liberty Gate

Steps lead down to the unusual lower ground floor flat, which is on the market for £325,000 estate agents Liberty Gate

Unique entertainment space: The flat includes its own underground cave that doubles up as a private home cinema

Unique entertainment space: The flat includes its own underground cave that doubles up as a private home cinema

The flat is part of the St Marys Gate House development, which was originally built as the French Consulate

The flat is part of the St Marys Gate House development, which was originally built as the French Consulate

The cave cinema boasts reclining leather armchairs, a ventilation and heat recovery system and a sizeable wine chiller

The cave cinema boasts reclining leather armchairs, a ventilation and heat recovery system and a sizeable wine chiller

Mixing the old with the new: The flat has a modern kitchen with some clever lighting and exposed brickwork

Mixing the old with the new: The flat has a modern kitchen with some clever lighting and exposed brickwork

This two-bedroom flat includes its own underground cave that doubles up as a private home cinema.

The cave cinema boasts reclining leather armchairs, a ventilation and heat recovery system and a sizeable wine chiller.

The property is being sold via estate agents Liberty Gate, with a guide price of between £325,000 to £335,000.

3. Four-bed house, St Leonards-on-sea, £1.25m 

The perfect pad to party at home? This colourful property in East Sussex has an interesting carnival theme

The perfect pad to party at home? This colourful property in East Sussex has an interesting carnival theme

The St Leonards-on-sea house is being sold via M&W Sales and Lettings, with an impressive asking price of £1.25million

The St Leonards-on-sea house is being sold via M&W Sales and Lettings, with an impressive asking price of £1.25million

The property is called The Bath House: The detached house has four bedrooms, and was once a Victorian Turkish bathhouse

The property is called The Bath House: The detached house has four bedrooms, and was once a Victorian Turkish bathhouse

The house has a bright interior: There are chandeliers hanging from wooden beams and bright red velvet corner sofas

The house has a bright interior: There are chandeliers hanging from wooden beams and bright red velvet corner sofas

Fancy a game? The main living area includes its own bowling alley with a large clown face light display hanging above it

Fancy a game? The main living area includes its own bowling alley with a large clown face light display hanging above it

This colourful property in East Sussex has a carnival theme and includes its own bowling alley in the main living area.

There are chandeliers hanging from wooden beams, bright red velvet corner sofas and ‘dodgem’ artwork on the walls.

The detached house has four bedrooms, and was once a Victorian Turkish bathhouse – hence its name today is The Bath House. It is being sold via M&W Sales and Lettings, and has an asking price of £1.25million.

4. Three-bed house, London, £6.5m 

The London property was designed by Sir David Adjaye, the same architect who designed actor Ewan McGregor's home

The London property was designed by Sir David Adjaye, the same architect who designed actor Ewan McGregor’s home

Not your typical home in the capital: The property in Kings Cross has three bedrooms with unusual features

Not your typical home in the capital: The property in Kings Cross has three bedrooms with unusual features

Making a splash: The main bedroom suite of this London home comes with an enclosed narrow swimming pool

Making a splash: The main bedroom suite of this London home comes with an enclosed narrow swimming pool

Not a single white tile in sight: The swimming pool area has grey tiles with a black painted ceiling and walls

Not a single white tile in sight: The swimming pool area has grey tiles with a black painted ceiling and walls

The Kings Cross property is on the market for £6.5 million and is being sold via estate agents Sotheby's International

The Kings Cross property is on the market for £6.5 million and is being sold via estate agents Sotheby’s International

The main bedroom suite of this house in the heart of London comes with an enclosed swimming pool and private steam room.

The three-bedroom property was designed by Sir David Adjaye, the same architect who designed actor Ewan McGregor’s home.

The Kings Cross property is on the market for £6.5 million and is being sold via estate agents Sotheby’s International.

5. Six-bed mansion with a vineyard, Wales, £10m 

As well as its own vineyard, this sprawling six-bedroom mansion has an outdoor swimming pool and a tennis court

As well as its own vineyard, this sprawling six-bedroom mansion has an outdoor swimming pool and a tennis court

Plenty of open space: Ancre Hill Estates, near Monmouth, in Wales, boasts an enormous 137 acres of land

Plenty of open space: Ancre Hill Estates, near Monmouth, in Wales, boasts an enormous 137 acres of land

The vineyard set-up is being sold as part of the property and it produces  an impressive 100,000 bottles of wine a year

The vineyard set-up is being sold as part of the property and it produces  an impressive 100,000 bottles of wine a year

A chance to enjoy the Welsh countryside: The stunning property is being sold for £10million via Savills estate agents

A chance to enjoy the Welsh countryside: The stunning property is being sold for £10million via Savills estate agents

Ancre Hill Estates, near Monmouth, includes 29.5 acres of vines and supplies wine to some of the world's top restaurants

Ancre Hill Estates, near Monmouth, includes 29.5 acres of vines and supplies wine to some of the world’s top restaurants

The mansion includes a swimming pool surrounding by a patio with plenty of seating areas to entertain at home

The mansion includes a swimming pool surrounding by a patio with plenty of seating areas to entertain at home

Fancy owning your own vineyard? This property in Wales could fit the bill as it produces 100,000 bottles of wine a year.

Ancre Hill Estates, near Monmouth, is tucked away in the Welsh Borders and boasts an enormous 137 acres of land – including 29.5 acres of vines – and supplies some of the world’s top restaurants, including to French chef Raymond Blanc.

Ancre Hill has been recognised in some of the top international wine competitions in the world and won the Bollicine del Mondo in 2012 when its 2008 Sparkling Wine was voted the best White Sparkling Wine in the world. 

At the heart of the estate is a sprawling six-bedroom mansion, which has an outdoor swimming pool and a tennis court. The property is being sold for £10million via Savills estate agents.

6. Houseboat, London, £2m 

This luxurious houseboat once belonged to the French star Edith Piaf who used it on tours around France and Europe

This luxurious houseboat once belonged to the French star Edith Piaf who used it on tours around France and Europe

A quick translation of the boat's name: The houseboat is called Flamant Rose, the French for Pink Flamingo

A quick translation of the boat’s name: The houseboat is called Flamant Rose, the French for Pink Flamingo

A piece of history: The boat has been based at a mooring at St Katherine's Dock marina in London since the late 1990s

A piece of history: The boat has been based at a mooring at St Katherine’s Dock marina in London since the late 1990s

The historic charm of the yacht is felt throughout, with plenty of unique features on show, such as this ship's wheel

The historic charm of the yacht is felt throughout, with plenty of unique features on show, such as this ship’s wheel

This luxurious houseboat, named Flamant Rose – French for Pink Flamingo – once belonged to the French star Edith Piaf, who used it on tours around France and Europe.

The boat has been based at a mooring at St Katherine’s Dock marina in London since the late 1990s, and it is now available to buy for £2million via estate agents Sotheby’s International.

Keen to own your own houseboat? It is on the market for £2million via estate agents Sotheby's International

Keen to own your own houseboat? It is on the market for £2million via estate agents Sotheby’s International

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Search continues for Dublin man missing in US Rocky Mountains

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US park rangers are searching for a 27-year-old Dubliner missing in Grand Teton National Park in the state of Wyoming after his car was found at the start of a hiking trail.

Cian McLaughlin, who studied at Dublin Institute of Technology and works as a snowboard instructor at Jackson Hole in the Rocky Mountains, has not been seen for almost a week.

The Dublin man was reported missing on Sunday morning by Teton County Sheriff’s Office. His car was later found at the start of a hiking trail in the 310,000-acre park.

The National Park Service, the US government agency leading the search for Mr McLaughlin, said he was last seen in the town of Jackson last Tuesday afternoon.

He failed to report for work in Jackson on Thursday and the local sheriff’s office received a missing-person report late on Saturday night.

Grand Teton National Park was contacted early on Sunday when the sheriff’s office received information indicating that Mr McLaughlin may be hiking in the park. A spokeswoman for the National Park Service (NPS) said that park teams with search dogs were out searching the park for the missing man.

She said that Mr McLaughlin is believed to have headed out for a “day hike” without a backpack with him but that “no one knows where he intended to go or where he did go”.

His car was located at Lupine Meadows Trailhead on Sunday morning at an elevation of 6,732ft. The NPS spokeswoman said that there is still snow in the park at about 8,000ft.

Ground-search operations

“Aerial reconnaissance and ground-search operations were conducted in high probability areas in the park on Sunday, June 13th, in search of McLaughlin with no evidence or leads about his whereabouts. Search operations will continue early Monday morning, June 14th,” said the NPS.

In a public appeal, the NPS called on anyone travelling in “backcountry” inside the park since last Tuesday to come forward if they have any information about Mr McLaughlin.

The Dubliner’s Facebook page says he started working at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort last December and that he previously lived in the French ski resort of Chamonix.

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