Living by the sea: the most popular seaside towns for London home buyers house hunting outside the capital

If the bank holiday heatwave has got you pining for blue horizons, a more relaxed lifestyle and the chance to cool off in the sea, you’re in good company.

Londoners in search of sea views are flocking to Southend-on-Sea, according to new research from Rightmove. The property website found the Essex resort town was the most popular seaside destination for home seekers intent on leaving the capital behind.

Of all Londoners looking to buy a home in the next year, a record 42 per cent are extending their search outside the city — a significant rise on the low of 33 per cent seen in 2013, according to Aneisha Beveridge, head of research at Hamptons International.

“While affordability remains a key driver for many of these moves, buyers can get much more for their money out of London than in,” she said.

“Lifestyle choices including space, schools and quality of life are high on purchasers’ lists, too. And flexible working, faster broadband and better transport links have helped make a move out of the capital more possible than ever.”

Southend-on-Sea, Essex

The majority of London leavers desire a change in lifestyle, along with a home cheaper than the capital’s current average of £618,000. With house prices less than half that, at £302,000, Southend certainly fits the bill.

And with regular trains to Fenchurch Street taking just 56 minutes, Southend will also appeal to the 40 per cent of London leavers who plan to continue commuting into the capital after they move. An annual season ticket costs £4,904.

Neighbouring Leigh-on-Sea has the arty reputation, but Southend’s fortunes are looking up with a planned £50 million investment in the seafront.

Hove, East Sussex

The second most popular seaside town for Londoners to move to is Hove in East Sussex, Brighton’s more refined neighbour on the south coast.

With an average house price of £478,000, Hove is the most expensive spot in the top 10 seaside destinations for London leavers.

Its Georgian garden square flats with high ceilings are certainly no downgrade for most, who will be buying into a nicer location than they could probably afford in the capital — with a Waitrose in the high street, Brighton’s boutiques and lively nightlife just down the road and the added benefit of the beach within walking distance.

Hove is 67 minutes from London Victoria by train and an annual season ticket costs £4,468.

Hastings, East Sussex

The up-and-coming artists’ town of Hastings, also in East Sussex, is the third most popular coastal destination for London leavers.

The town’s fortunes are gradually shifting from heroin hotspot to cultural outpost, thanks to an award-winning restoration of its derelict pier, the opening of the Jerwood Gallery — recently rebranded as Hastings Contemporary — and a continuing influx of well-heeled Londoners, snapping up homes for an average price of £253,000.

Less well-connected than some of the other popular coastal destinations, Hastings is more often a choice for freelancers or remote workers, or those choosing a total lifestyle overhaul rather than looking to maintain their London connections.

Trains from Hastings to London take from 83 minutes and an annual season ticket costs £4,988.

Bournemouth, in Dorset, and Westcliff-on-Sea, a suburb of Southend-on-Sea, were the fourth and fifth most popular seaside towns for Londoners to move to.

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