The beach, vibrant nightlife and fabulous Regency architecture means Brighton offers an enviable lifestyle.
Overview: Its got the beach, brilliant shopping, restaurants and nightlife, and some fabulous Regency architecture. Little wonder that a recent poll by YouGov found that the residents of this south coast city are they proudest in the UK of where they live.
Where is it? East Sussex, neatly sandwiched between the South Downs and the English Channel.
How much will it cost me? An average property will set you back £326,793, up 2.2 per cent in the last year. Expect to pay around £235,000 for a flat, or £473,700 for a detached house. Renters will need to budget around £1,220 a month for a two bedroom flat or £1,781 a month for a four bedroom house. “It is a very good solid market,” said Jack Taggart, branch manager of King & Chasemore. “We had a big climb in 2013 and it has stayed solid ever since.” Prices in the city are buoyed by proximity to London – commuter trains take around an hour. “We recently had a lady selling a house and she had had four valuations of between £385,000 and £425,000,” said Mr Taggart. “We put it on the market and a cash buyer from London really wanted it, and paid £435,000. I think that buyers from London have very a different perception of prices.”
What the experts say: Brighton is a vibrant little city with a well-earned reputation for its fantastic lifestyle; not just the great facilities but its laid back, slightly bohemian vibe. It will be at its best this month with the Brighton Festival and Brighton Fringe - the largest outside Edinburgh - bringing a great programme of live music, comedy, and theatre.
"You can be who you want to be without people looking down on you"
The young - and young at heart - will want to live in the heart of the city, Kemp Town, the fun, cosmopolitan and vibrant gay capital of the city, fantastic bars, clubs, shops and restaurants and an urban village vibe. Neil Sutherland, owner of Neil Sutherland Estate and Lettings Agents estimates that a two bedroom flat would cost, on average, between £350,000 and £400,000. As well as its amenity he believes people flock to Brighton for its ethos. “It does not judge and you can be who you want to be without people looking down on you,” he said. “We have actors, artists, business suits, a massive student population and everyone just gets on with it, which is great.” For families the steadier pace of life in Hove tends to be more appealing, and Drew Bailey, branch manager at Fox & Sons said it has prime areas for different budgets. Young families will pay £400,000 to £500,000 for a two to three bedroom terrace in the Poet’s Corner area, those with more to spend look at the 1930s semis around Newchurch Road, priced at between £550,000 and £750,000, while the top address is Hove Park, where homes range from £750,000 and around £2m. “Hove is not as busy as Brighton, which is mainly flats,” said Bailey. “Hove is very family friendly. There are good schools and parks and it has got a station for getting to London.”
Any downsides? Brighton’s pebbly beach is hard on your feet and gets unfeasibly crowded on hot days, and traffic can be horrendous. The town’s once lovely West Pier is becoming increasingly derelict. Homes close to the sea will need repainting regularly.
Top schools: Carlton Hill Primary School, Moulsecoomb Primary School, and Patcham High School are all rated “good” by the Government’s schools’ watchdog.
Landmarks: The gorgeously bonkers Royal Pavilion, an exotic palace built for the decadent King George IV.
History lesson: Brighton’s first wave of tourists visited the town in 18th century in the belief that bathing in and drinking its sea waters would be good for their health.
Where to eat, drink and make merry: A book could be written on this topic, but highlights include alfresco tea and cake at the Pavilion Gardens Cafe, fish and chips at the Regency Restaurant, or a Frenchified dinner at the Bistro at Hotel du Vin. Brighton is awash with great pubs like the Ginger Dog, and sophisticated bars like Dirty Blonde.
Retail therapy: All the main chains are represented in the town centre, while the North Laine is a gorgeous warren of cobbled streets lined with boutiques. There are some great vintage and antique shops in Kemp Town too.
Trivial pursuit: Pink Floyd’s first live performance of Dark Side of the Moon was a the Brighton Dome in 1972.
1. A Grade II listed Regency townhouse in a conservation area handy for both the centre of Brighton and Hove seafront. The five storey house has six bedrooms, a self-contained basement flat, and is on the market with Fox & Sons for offers over £1.1m.
2. A period house in Kemp Town, with three to four bedrooms, a roof terrace, and a courtyard garden. The Grade II listed house is on the market for £550,000 with Paul Bott & Co.
3. A two bedroom mid terrace cottage close to the city’s Queen’s Park. The stylishly decorated property has a small courtyard garden as in on the market with Q Sales and Lettings, priced at £350,000.
4. A Flat for sale in Brighton on the seafront, with great water views. The property, which has a south facing balcony, is on the market with Fox & Sons, priced at £510,000.
5. A Two bedroom converted flat in a Regency house in Kemp Town - with the sea at the end of the street. The property is on the market with Leaders, priced £325,000.