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UK homebuyers and renters rush to cities as coastal demand cools

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Early morning mist and low cloud cover the city of Bath and surrounding hills as the sun begins to shine through and create patches of light. UNESCO added the City of Bath as a 'cultural site' to its World Heritage List in 1987. Picture date: Sunday March 27, 2022.
Buyer competition has increased in cities including Bath. Photo: PA

Competition between homebuyers and renters for properties in seaside areas is starting to cool as more homes become available and coastal demand starts to ease, a new study says.

Analysis from Rightmove (RMV.L) said the market is showing signs of easing in some of the past two years’ most frenzied hotspots.

Despite this, Britain's biggest property website notes it remains very busy compared to the 2019 levels, and the imbalance between supply and demand will take many months to calibrate.

It added that buyer demand is up by 26% nationally, compared to this time in 2019, while the number of new listings is down by 11%.

Read more: UK house prices hit record £289,099 but market set to cool

The market is moving at record speed, with the current 32 days to find a buyer being the shortest ever, and the number of sales being agreed is up by 7% compared to 2019.

This means that 16% less homes are seeing reductions in price after listing compared to same time period.

Demand is measured by the total number of people contacting estate agents about available properties.

Image: Rightmove
Image: Rightmove

The majority of buyers flocked to Bath, with interest up 49%, while Carlisle surged 42% and Newcastle-upon-Tyne came in third spot, up 36%.

In Cornwall, competition between buyers is down by 27% on average versus the same time in 2021, this fell by 31% for renters.

Across all local seaside areas, competition is down by an average of 10% for buyers, and 1% for renters, compared to May last year.

At the same time, competition has increased across the 50 biggest cities across the country by an average of 13% for buyers, and 29% for renters.

Nationally, total competition between buyers has risen 6% and 49% for renters during the time period.

Read more: New UK mortgage commitments rise despite cost of living crisis

Tim Bannister, Rightmove’s director of property science, said: "Since the market reopened at the beginning of the pandemic, there has been exceptional demand to move to coastal areas, and as the months progressed supply was increasingly unable to match demand.

"Now, we’re seeing that though demand is still very high in many coastal areas, it has slowed from the heady levels seen in parts of 2020 and 2021.

"We’re also seeing this on a national scale, where demand is very slowly easing compared to last year, but remains very high compared to 2019.

"As more choice becomes available in these seaside areas, we’re seeing some of the competition between buyers and renters begin to cool off, however, no two local markets are the same, and it will take many months for supply to reach a better balance with demand in many coastal areas."

Watch: Will UK house prices ever fall?

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