Ah, Brighton and Hove. The gentle breeze rolling in off the seafront. The scent of fish, chips and candyfloss emanating from the pier. The distant sound of a dreadlocked didgeridoo player from Chippenham droning away on a street corner.
Indeed, there are many appealing things about the jewel of the Sussex coast. So it’s little wonder that Hove has been named the leading place for 25 to 44 year olds to buy homes by Lloyds Banking Group.
Maybe it’s the winning combination of sea air and a short train ride to London. Maybe it’s the foaming pints of Harvey’s Sussex Best. Or maybe it’s just the chance to catch a glimpse of a famous neighbour, like Nick Cave, Fatboy Slim, Chris Eubank or Jordan.
Whatever it is, Britain’s ‘young urbanites’ are going positively doolally for BN postcodes right now.
But alas, owning prime real estate in on the Sussex town’s seafront doesn’t come cheap.
According to property website Rightmove, the average price of property sold in Brighton and Hove last year was a London-esque £338,217.
So, if you want a slice of that boho seaside lifestyle but don’t want to pay out the wazoo, what can you do?
Well, there are plenty of alternatives dotted around the UK. Ok, so you won’t have quite such easy access to London, and there might not be quite as many quirky retailers to spend whatever money you’ve got left after paying your stonking great mortgage, but you’ll certainly get a lot more home for your money.
Hastings and St Leonards, Sussex
Average 2014 house price: £180,269*
Just an hour east from Brighton and Hove, Hastings and St Leonards is often compared to how Brighton was 20 years ago, before the gentrification well and truly set in.
St Leonards resident and local councillor Rob Lee says: "Hastings is amazing for many reasons like the fishing fleet, great places to eat and lots of history. But one of my favourite things is that you can see the townsfolk re-enact the crucifixion and have a big full-on pagan parade within a couple of weeks of each other."
Average 2014 house price: £152,529*
Like Brighton, Bangor is a thriving university town. But it’s an altogether more rugged proposition than the Sussex coast.
Local university lecturer Nathan Abrams tells us: “Bangor is a small, friendly university town set among some of the most beautiful countryside in Britain, including the sea, forests and mountains. The original university building dominates the city's skyline, coupled with the brand-new, almost-completed, Pontio Arts and Innovation Centre.
“Bangor is also one of the oldest sites of Christian worship on mainland Britain and as such has a long and fascinating history stretching back centuries. Being on the postal route to Ireland, it’s also very easy to reach by train from London.”
Swansea, South Wales
Average 2014 house price: £126,421*
Swansea is dominated by its massive beach and has the jaw-dropping beauty of the Gower just around the corner. There’s no shortage of culture, either. A quick bus ride or cycle along the promenade will take you to the charming village of Mumbles and its many pubs – most of which used to be frequented by thirsty worsdsmith Dylan Thomas.
Covered mag’s very own Derri Dunn, a Swansea resident, tells us: “Swansea’s big draw is the fantastic sandy beach that laps at the front of the town and unfolds all the way out to the spectacular Gower region. Where else in Britain could I have it all – modern amenities, a friendly community, fabulous coastline – along with house prices that let me buy double the home I’d afford 30 miles down the coast?”
Average 2014 house price: £168,015*
Whitby’s famed for its connections to Dracula and the annual Goth Festival, but there’s a lot more to this stunning Yorkshire seaside town.
Regular visitor Ben O’Sullivan tells us: "I love Whitby. Some seaside towns seem to have a desperate, best-days-behind them, all-pervading gloom. Whitby doesn’t. Whitby is unashamedly scratty in a charming way and doesn’t seem to care what you think about it. It likes itself and that’s enough.
"My highlights include the Black Horse (supposedly having one of the oldest orginal bars in the UK), the famous Magpie chippy and the local charming seaside villages of Staithes and Robin Hoods Bay, with lung busting descents."
News in brief
RBS customers have been assured that payment problems ‘experienced’ earlier in the week have now been ‘resolved’.
The boss of Poundland has defended the chain’s decision to sell sex toys. “It’s not unusual,” shrugged the firm’s chief executive, Jim McCarthy.
The Competition and Markets Authority is donning its deerstalker and getting out a comically sized magnifying glass to investigate fake online reviews.
Luanda, the capital of Angola, has been named the most expensive city in the world for ex-pats.
On Covered mag this week
Would you risk a £60-per-child fine for a cheaper family holiday?
Electric vans are ace – OR ARE THEY? We pondered the issue and came to a conclusion of sorts.
Apparently some people think Angry Birds is more important than insurance. The fools!
Some fixed-rate energy tariffs are coming to an end.
Loans and summer go together like, er, socks and sandals.
Automotive disasters can happen to mechanics too, you know.
Join us next week for another thigh-slapping edition of the Money Shot. Until then, send us your letters.