Here at Rightmove we love settling down on the sofa to watch a good bit of TV, and we can reveal that an ITV drama has led to a surge in searches in one particular seaside town.
Searches for homes to buy in Morecambe rose by 71% in just one week, as viewers of The Bay looked to see what was for sale in the town where the show is set and filmed.
The shocking crime drama returned for a second series this month, and home-hunters dual screening led to the Lancashire town seeing a bigger seven-day increase in buyer searches than anywhere else in Great Britain.
Buyer searches were up 149% on the same week in 2020, whilst searches for homes to rent in Morecambe were also up 22% over the same period, further highlighting that the nation’s fascination with property is inextricably linked to everyday life.
The average asking price of a home in the picturesque seaside town is £151,607, which is 6.4% up on a year ago, and 16.7% higher than five years ago.
Average asking rents in Morecambe, meanwhile, are £612 per calendar month.
Rightmove’s latest study also illustrates the public’s continued interest in property for sale in the South West.
Looe, a small coastal town in Cornwall, saw weekly buyer searches jump 176% compared to the same period in 2020, followed by Padstow (+154%), Morecambe (+149%), and St Ives(+123%).
Fowey (+121%), Ilfracombe (+121%), Woolacombe (+105%), and Salcombe (+101%) also saw huge annual rises in buyer searches, meaning that places in Devon and Cornwall account for seven of the top 10 locations in terms of year-on-year increases.
Where are the nation’s latest property hotspots?
What do the experts say?
Our resident property data expert Tim Bannister explained that everyday trends are often reflected in activity on Rightmove.
He said: “As a nation we’re fascinated with property, but what’s really interesting about this research is that it clearly shows the link between home-hunters’ searches and their everyday lives.
“People are watching TV shows such as The Bay and then scrolling through Rightmove on their devices to see what’s available, and that’s why we’ve seen such a big spike in interest for property in Morecambe.
“The same is true of Devon and Cornwall. There’s a number of Cornwall-focused lifestyle shows on TV at the moment and it’s hard not to get swept away dreaming about a life in the south west. We already know that rural and seaside areas are rising in popularity, so it’s a trend that bodes well for sellers in these locations.”
What are local estate agents seeing?
Laura Fort, Sales Negotiator at Ibay Homes in Morecambe, said: “The Bay has certainly put Morecambe on the map in recent weeks, and I’m not surprised that searches have increased so much because the market has been crazily busy. We’re still seeing a lot of demand, and for every first-time buyer property we’ve got, there are about ten first-time buyers lining up to put an offer in.
“However, there’s lots more to Morecambe than what you see on the show. Eden Project North is a massive attraction that’s coming to the town and will create loads of jobs and really boost the local economy.
“We’re already seeing lots of people moving here from Manchester and London; probably because you can get a real bargain and buy a four-bed house for about £150,000.
“The RLI Hospital is also nearby so we get consultants and doctors looking for property in the town. There’s also Lancaster and Cumbria universities, and two power stations, that attract a lot of people to the area.
“There are lots of regeneration plans in the pipeline for Morecambe so it’s quite an up and coming place. The landscape is beautiful, too, and you’re never far from the seafront.”
Andrew McKnight, Managing Director of MAP Estate Agents in Cornwall, added: “I’ve worked in estate agency for 30 years and the December we’ve just had was the busiest December I’ve ever seen in terms of market activity. That demand has definitely carried through to January and we’re absolutely still seeing high levels of interest for property across the county.
“It’s been a busy start to the year, but demand is still very much outstripping supply. Quite understandably, sellers are probably holding off until things get back to some semblance of normality.
“Cornwall has always been a destination that people have aspired to move to and live in. I was born in London and moved down here in my teens and I’ve never gone back. There are so many things that you can do down here that are hard to find elsewhere. No matter where you live you’re only a 10-minute drive from a beach; we’ve got lovely fresh air and lovely walks, milder weather, and the quality of life is incredible.
“Whenever I turn on the TV there is a programme about Cornwall. Whether it be a fishing show or a cooking show, or Poldark, there is national interest in the county and TV companies wouldn’t be making these shows if people weren’t interested in the way of life down here.”