Salcombe in Devon may be the most expensive coastal location in the country, with some hotels charging nearly £500 for a one night stay, but at the other end of England there is a seaside town that offers rooms for just £25 per person.
The ‘underrated’ seaside town of Newbiggin-by-the-Sea has been named the UK’s cheapest seaside location to buy a house, with an average price of £117,763. The comparison with Salcombe, where one estate agent set the average house price at over a million pounds more – at £1,246,087.
A house by the sea will probably cost you upwards of £300,000, with most of the cheaper houses located further inland. However, locals say the town is “underrated” as it has a host of amazing quirks.
The Devon seaside resort has cafes that charge £2.80 for a latte, but in the north they cost £1.90. Fish and chips by the sea in Salcombe can cost £13, but that compares to around £9.40 in Newbiggin-by-the-Sea. Punters pay £3.60 for a basic pint of lager in the northern seaside resort – but in Salcombe some listings show £6. In Newbiggin-by-the-Sea, a bucket and shovel cost £5. In Devon one place charges £11.
Newbiggin town center is full of independent shops, backing onto the only south-facing bay in all of Northumberland. Many who grow up there see no reason to leave, while those who get there fall in love fairly quickly.
And it’s not the first time Newbiggin has been in the limelight recently, when it was named one of the UK’s trendiest Airbnb resorts in July 2022. It’s all a huge turnaround. from a city once ranked in the top five per hundred most deprived areas in the UK. Tourism has now overtaken fishing and mining as the city’s key industry.
Hazel Steel, 64, grew up in Newbiggin and has owned her shop, Sew Quilted by the Sea, for nearly seven years. She described the town as one of the most underrated places in the UK and said she was inundated with tourists attracted by the falling cost of living, with a meal for two and a bottle of wine ranging between £20 and £25. .
The mother-of-two said: “It’s one of the most underrated places in the UK. The bay faces south so you get the sunlight from the crack until sunset. There are lots of lovely places to eat and we have events all the time and all the stores are independent except the Co-op.There is a really nice community here and people visit the trailer parks two or three times a year.
“It’s down to earth but really creative, house prices are going up because everyone wants to be here. People come here because it’s a bit cheaper. We get a lot of tourists from all over the world. There have a lot more to do now.”
Karen Carr, 58, has owned craft shop Seventy Seven for more than two years and has just opened a confectionery shop next door. She has described the town as a vacation paradise and plans to sell handmade rock sticks for as little as 40p. She said: “The town has a mild flow of tourists from Easter to October. We find that people who come here for a weekend often end up moving because they fall in love with the place.
“This is truly the land that time forgot. Everyone here is lovely and charitable and what you see is what you get. We don’t have tourist prices and local prices, we like it to be fair for everyone. There is price parity.”
The same study that found Newbiggin-by-the-Sea to be the cheapest seaside location to buy property in England named Salcombe, Devon as the most expensive. A night in the cheapest hotel a given night in July in Newbiggin-by-the-Sea for two is £70 (and it’s right by the beach), while in Salcombe you’re looking at £322 £.
Ladhars Fish Bar has been in the family of Jagadip Ladhar since 1998. The 35-year-old says it would be impossible to charge the prices charged at resorts like Salcombe and other parts of Devon and Cornwall. He said: “We wish we could charge those prices but we just don’t think it’s fair to customers. People take advantage of the beachfront location and know they can charge whatever they want. .
“Once the families are there they don’t always look at the price of things, if the kids want something to eat, the kids are going to get something to eat. Fish and chips is so expensive now that it’s become a luxury, especially in places like Devon and Cornwall when they can charge for what they really like.”
While Newbiggin-by-the-Sea clearly has a lot to gain, some locals are worried about rising property prices and the town could become a ‘victim of its own success’. Sheila Harrison, a Newbiggin Heritage Partnership volunteer who has lived in the village for more than 50 years, told ChronicleLive in 2022 that rising house prices coupled with a lack of jobs meant young families had a lot harder to get a foot on the property ladder.
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And after seeing towns further north, such as Beadnell and Warkworth, become ‘saturated’ with vacation rentals, it is hoped that low property prices will not come at the expense of the community if purchased by investors who live outside the zone. Sheila said: “Many visitors want to see Newbiggin, but many also use them as a base to see other parts of Northumberland.
“And I think because Beadnell is saturated they’re coming further south because further north you just can’t buy properties to be Airbnbs – and that’s driving up prices and people who want to live here.”
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