What is happening to house prices in Hastings and St Leonards?
House prices in the UK grew by 3.5% in the year to April, according to the latest figures from HM Land Registry, down from 4.1% the previous month.
The new figures published on Wednesday (June 21), showed the average UK house price stood at £286,000 in April. This was £9,000 higher than a year earlier, but £7,000 less than September 2022, when house prices peaked.
House price growth was strongest in the North East of England, and lowest in London. But what about the Hastings and St Leonards area? According to the Land Registry, the average Hastings house price was £287,094 in April – a 1.3% decrease on March. This drop was more than the average for the South East region, where prices decreased by 0.5% in April. But it still meant house prices in Hastings grew by 6.4% over the year to April, with the average sale price increasing by £17,000.
Terraced houses in the town were hit the hardest. They dropped 1.6% in April to £291,935 on average. But over the year to April rose by 6.4%. Meanwhile, flats in Hastings were down 1.1% in April to an average of £174,275 – an increase of 5.1% annually. Detached houses in the area were down 1.3% monthly, but up 7.2% annually to an average of £557,986, and semi-detached houses were down 1.1% monthly, but up 7.5% annually to an average of £383,560.
Hastings property expert Adam Toubi said: “We’ve seen market conditions become tougher, which is no surprise given the rising interest rates making the cost of mortgages more expensive. But it isn’t all doom and gloom for Hastings and St Leonards for a number of reasons.
“Prices here are lower than nearby towns such as Brighton, Tunbridge Wells and Lewes, where the average UK house price of £286,000 may only stretch to a one or two-bedroom apartment. Here that could buy a decent three-bedroom house in the Ore Village area of Hastings.
“We’ve also seen a large influx of people relocating to the coast, due to more people now being able to work remotely - meaning the need to be in London is no longer a priority. Also Hastings, St Leonards and Bexhill are up-and-coming areas, where we’re seeing independent businesses and eateries popping up, making it a desirable place to visit and live.
“Attractions like the historic Old Town, Alexandra Park and the pier in Hastings, as well as the De La Warr Pavilion and stunning beaches in Bexhill make the area a great place to live with plenty to do and lots of open spaces.”
The 36-year-old, who has worked as an estate agent in Hastings for 14 years, says the property market in Hastings has become more competitive for sellers in recent months. He points out that there are now over 1,000 properties advertised on Rightmove, in comparison to 2021 when there were around 400 properties available.
“This makes it a more attractive market to buy in than a couple of years ago, due to buyers having more choice and sellers being more open to negotiations,” he added. “Prices do seem to be holding though, with annual house price growth in Hastings still nearly double the UK average. The rental market here on the other hand is incredibly competitive for tenants, due to the lack of properties to choose from, and many landlords deciding to sell up because of changes in legislation and more expensive mortgages. Rental prices have been continuing to rise for some time and it doesn’t look like they’re going to reduce anytime soon - especially with the growing number of Airbnbs and second homes in the town.”
Despite the Bank of England hiking interest rates to 5%, a surprise half-point increase, on Thursday (June 22), and the ongoing cost of living crisis, Adam still has faith in the Hastings property market. Last month, he launched his own estate agency business Adam Toubi Powered by Exp – covering Hastings, St Leonards, Bexhill, and the surrounding areas – to “shake up” the house selling market.
The father-of-two, whose wife Elizabeth Toubi works as a nurse in Hastings for the NHS, has teamed up with eXp – which he says is one of the world’s fastest growing estate agency businesses. He says he chose the cloud-based platform because it allows him to provide a “bespoke” service for his clients.
Many people are now opting towards instructing a personal estate agent, as they benefit from having one contact from start to finish. It's a bit like if somebody has their own accountant or solicitor - why should it be different when selling your home? That’s why I decided to go it alone and provide a personal estate agency service to clients and buyers alike. Business has already been very positive. My first property advertised for sale was agreed within three days of listing despite the owner having tried to sell through a high street agency for several months prior.”