UK: Can Brighton Claim to Beating the General Trend?

UK: Can Brighton Claim to Beating the General Trend?

Beach Huts on Brighton & Hove
Beach Huts on Brighton & Hove [Photo credits to Rollinho on Flickr]

With more evidence and general agreement that property price rises are set to stall in the UK, the Telegraph has published an article suggesting that Brighton and Hove are diverging from other parts of the South East of England. The reasons given for the strong recent growth are chiefly the attractions the town has to relocating Londoners. These not only include Brighton’s interest and seaside location but the quality of the train services to London.

Not only is the train service relatively good but commuters have a choice of London termini (Victoria, Charing Cross, Blackfriars and London Bridge) so a swathe of central London is walking distance from the train. However, it needs to be remembered that the train journey takes 80 to 90 minutes and won’t be cheap. The local council says that 4,500 Londoners relocate to Brighton every year.

Another factor in the Brighton property market is that, hemmed in by the South Downs and the sea, Brighton has nowhere to go but up. An example of this kind of development is the plan for a new sports centre and hundreds of affordable homes at the King Alfred Centre.

Brighton also has a very interesting built environment, not only on the sea front, in the ‘lanes’ and along the Stein (the location of the Royal Pavilion) but also numerous conservation areas. These clearly add to Brighton’s attractiveness but also bring constraints for residents such as controls on estate agents boards and, in the case of Brunswick Square, very strict regulations surrounding the repainting of properties.

Brighton & Hove offers plenty of distinctive properties such as the 11 storey, 70-year old Embassy Court (on the front), at different times home to Rex Harrison, Graham Greene and Diana Dors, which was restored by Terence Conran in 2005/6. The Glass Pavilion offers new accommodation sympathetically juxtaposed to regency buildings. A two bedroom, top floor apartment is currently advertised at £650,000. Another, larger stylish development is Avalon on West Street. To get the flavour of the whole city try visiting mybrightonandhove.org.uk . According to the Land Registry, average property prices in Brighton and Hove currently stand at £220,734.

This compares with an average (from the Nationwide Building Society) of £212,811 for the whole of the Southeast excluding Greater London. Property professionals are divided on whether Brighton house prices can go on rising and the extent to which the market is dependent upon the direction of prices in the capital.