Cornish classics

Posted on: 22 January 2013 by Laura Henderson

Stunning seafront homes and build restrictions are keeping property values perky in Cornwall, says property expert Laura Henderson

Property CornwallWhile the economic turmoil has seen UK house prices plummet to record lows, properties in many top Cornish coastal towns continue to trade at a premium.

“Cornwall ticks a lot of boxes for would-be buyers,” comments property consultant Paul Barnett. “It’s unspoilt and picturesque, has a great climate due to its proximity to the Gulf Stream, plus it’s sandy beaches, quaint resorts and top-notch sailing are an irresistible draw for urbanites. The area also attracts famous people who prefer to “blend and hide” than live in the spotlight – a rich mix that has led to an increasingly sophisticated choice of amenities and attractions opening up from Michelin star restaurants to trendy boutiques.”

Rental demand has proven a further investment sweetener; a healthy influx of tourists and holidaymakers, pepping up the short-term lettings market – even more so this year, adds Barnett, with ‘staycations’ catching on as families decide to forgo a pricier European break and holiday at home. The increase in demand for self-catering accommodation has also been significantly helped by the growth of on-line property rental portals, making it easy for people to browse and pick.

Some stretches of the Cornish coast are more desirable than others, however. The uninitiated buyer should remember the golden rule: “estuary, estuary, estuary”, the Cornish version of “location, location, location”, adds Barnett, with the likes of Camel, Fal, Fowey and Helford among others, hitting the spot. Such is the demand for prime coastal homes in Cornwall that the market has already bottomed out in many places. “This is largely due to limited supply,” adds Barnett, “with many properties kept in the same family for decades.”

For those in the market for a waterfront pad, deep pockets are required. Average house prices stand at £287,175 compared to the UK average of £249,958, although median house values in prime locations command considerably more - £500,000 in the case of St Mawes.

Many homes in the St Mawes boast southerly views across the harbour towards St Anthony’s headland, an area of outstanding natural beauty owned and managed by the National Trust. Others sport westerly vistas across the River Fal to the picture-postcard town of Falmouth: the county’s yachting capital.

“Most buyers gravitate towards the harbour front,” adds Mark Willson of agents H Tiddy. The village has traditional Cornish streets with just the one road running into the village. It’s these natural elements along with the lifestyle that help retain its premium price tag. A cosy one-bedroom flat on Marine Parade will set you back in the region of £230,000, a four-bedroom detached home with parking and boat facilities upwards of £1m.”

Despite becoming one of the most sought-after holiday spots on the south coast, St Mawes still has a low-key gentleness to it. Adds Willson: “St Ives and Padstow are full to brimming, yet St Mawes has managed to retain an exclusive feel, which many buyers find irresistible.”

Laura Henderson is a property journalist, columnist and investment expert. Editor of Abode2 property magazine, her latest book: Tricks and Mortar: The Little Book of Property Wisdom is out now.

Tricks and Mortar: The Little Book of Property Wisdom

Tricks and Mortar: The Little Book of Property Wisdom

By Laura Henderson

Now available from



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