Wordsworth, perched a few miles above Tintern Abbey wrote of ‘these waters, rolling from their mountain-springs with a soft inland murmur,’ and it looks like the poet’s Romantic thoughts are shared by many of us when it comes to hunting down a place to live.
Homes on the waterfront are definitely riding the storm compared to their somewhat drier counterparts, according to agents Knight Frank. Prices for prime waterfront houses in the south west of England dropped by only 3.3% during the third quarter of this year and the most expensive homes have witnessed the smallest falls in value.
According to Knight Frank, homes in waterfront locations in the south west remain in demand and are holding their own in the current turbulent market. Even in such difficult times, Knight Frank estimates the best properties can command a 30 to 40% premium over similar houses without sea or river views.
The popularity of living on or close to the wet stuff has been reflected in spiralling values over the last five years. Land Registry figures show that the average price of a detached house in Salcombe, for instance, nearly doubled to £1.6 million. Other high growth areas include Coverack in Cornwall and Croyde, Devon, where prices jumped 87% and 70% respectively.
‘Lower-key’ places appear to be enduring the credit crunch better than ‘trendier’ spots like Rock. Average values in Rock have fallen 20% over the past six months, while those in Salcombe , Coverack and Croyde are holding firm, and even increasing for special properties coveted by buyers.
‘There is no doubt we have experienced turbulent times this year across the economic markets, but we have seen some positive signs recently in certain areas of the waterfront market and the south west seems to be weathering the storm better than the rest of the market in general,’ says Sandy Davenport from Knight Frank’s waterfront department (www.knightfrank.com).
Knight Frank believes most of us are drawn inevitably towards water. And if we can afford to pay extra for a home on the banks of a river or on the beach, the property will hold its value. Such homes are rare and as enticing as the waves lapping upon the seashore, a sentiment Wordsworth would have understood.