Beautiful seaside town so popular with ‘hipsters’ house prices have doubled

Locals from a booming historic seaside town where house prices have more than doubled in the last year have explained why this has happened. 

Less than a two-hour drive from London and a ten-minute drive from Margate sits a mostly Victorian town that has seen an influx of home-buyers. 

Westgate-on-Sea has seen average property prices shoot from around £150,000 to £322,188, according to Zoopla. 

Emma Edney, a 49-year-old sales negotiator for estate agent Cook & Co, who lived in Westgate for nine years, says the steep price rise is down to an influx of “trendy hipsters from London”.

Westgate isn’t the only coastal town that has seen tremendous growth in recent years. The average price of a seaside home in Britain is now £304,460 – a rise of 4 per cent since 2021. 

Neighbouring Margate, and Salcombe, where the average house costs £ 1.2 million, have seen the greatest price rises over the last decade.

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Ms Edney thinks Covid had a big role to play in pulling “hip” people out of cities like London and into seaside towns. She said the demographic of people moving to Westgate is also made up of first-time buyers, people working from home and entrepreneurs. 

She said: “Since Covid, [prices] went through the roof because all these people from Shoreditch, Hackney, all around that area, were working remotely and haven’t really returned to the office so have just bought up here.

“It’s the same anywhere on the coast and anywhere that’s not in a city. 

“Why would you spend so much rent on London, have no parking or fresh air, when you can come down here, get a pet and work from home?”

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Westgate is home to West Bay, known as Kent’s “favourite” beach. The golden shores, lodged between Margate and Birchington, are not well-known but have been called “perfect” by visitors.

The beach has an average of four and a half stars on trip advisor with many reviews emphasising how clean and tidy it is. It’s also praised for its beautiful sunsets.

One user named Rhys Hughes left a review saying: “Ok, let me start by saying that this place isn’t a secret! During the summer months, it can be rather busy (as with every beach along this stretch). But in the off-season, this is our haven and it often feels like a secret little world!”

Another added: “This bay gets the sun all day, the sand is washed by the sea each day and it has the best sunsets of all the bays in Thanet.”

Although Ms Edney has moved out of the town now, she says it was a “brilliant” place to live as she could hop on a train and be in Margate “in a minute” and in London in under two hours.

She said: “The community and the slower pace of life… It’s less edgy. It is still very old-fashioned and there is a very Victorian feel to it.”

This opinion is usually shared by people who visit the Carlton Cinema, a Swiss-Gothic-style building built in 1910.

The Grade II listed property was initially intended to serve as the community’s Town Hall but in 1912 became the Town Hall Cinema – renamed Carlton in 1932. 

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