Opinion: Norfolk staycations could encourage more to put down roots
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It is great news for our coastal economies to see the crowds back in Norfolk’s resorts.
Commentators can talk until they are blue in the face about a ‘staycation summer’, but it’s not until you see those holidaymakers in person, spending their tourist pounds in local businesses, that you start to see the reality of the situation.
Norfolk is benefitting big time from this trend. Tourism is easily the biggest employer in our county, and those pounds which might otherwise have been spent in Tuscany or the Greek islands are instead going into the tills of our own pubs, cafes, restaurants, shops and attractions.
And a new piece of research would suggest that Norfolk is not just leading the way when it comes to its attractiveness as a holiday destination.
This week Rightmove released a survey showing the coastal locations in the UK with the biggest percentage house price growth – and two of the top ten were in Norfolk.
According to the property portal, Hemsby is in fourth place with a 21 per cent year-on-year growth, and Cromer sits at eighth in the table with an increase of 17 per cent. The only other county with two locations in the top ten is Cornwall.
Holidaymakers have always become misty-eyed about the prospect of snapping up a home in their holiday destination. But this year there is a big difference: instead of daydreaming about an impractical and probably impossible fantasy of owning a stone farmhouse in Provence or a villa in Spain, buying a home in a UK coastal location – particularly one within striking distance of the capital – is a realisable dream. And one which is increasingly coming true.
Many of those taking their summer breaks in the UK are what might be termed ‘forced staycationers’ – that is, they probably wouldn’t have chosen to holiday in the UK if Covid hadn’t made travelling abroad so difficult. What is striking is how many of them are being struck by just how lovely Britain’s coastal regions can be.
Combine this with a rapidly-changing world of work, where working from home is likely to feature large in our working lives long after the pandemic is over, and you can see why so many people are turning that holiday home fantasy into reality – and often making their new purchase not just a holiday home, but their permanent base.
Those moving out from London and the Home Counties are in search of more space, somewhere less polluted to bring up their families, and an altogether better quality of life. Norfolk offers all of these in spades, so we shouldn’t be surprised to find the county so high up in the list of desirable coastal places to move to.
This is good news for those wanting to sell their home, if rather less so for local first-time buyers who may find rising prices making their own home-owning dreams more difficult.
Whatever happens, it seems clear that this staycation summer is set to result in many more people putting down permanent roots in our county.
Jan Hÿtch is residential partner at Arnolds Keys.