Published: 15:15, 30 May 2019
| Updated: 15:18, 30 May 2019
For years Herne Bay has been overshadowed by its trendier neighbour, Whitstable.
However, local estate agents believe it is beginning to bridge the gap as people flock to buy larger, more affordable homes.
They say they have had customers who decided to move to the Bay instead of Whitstable after realising they could get more bang for their buck.
What do Herne Bay estate agents think?
Peter Goodwin, manager of Wilbee & Son in Mortimer Street, Herne Bay, thinks that the recent investment in the town has made it an attractive option to prospective buyers.
“I get the impression that Herne Bay is catching up with Whitstable a bit,” he said.
“Herne Bay seems to be extremely popular at the moment.
“I know a few people who bought in Whitstable and found they can resell the properties and come here to get more for their money. People have suddenly realised it is a good place to live.
“Things like the air show, the community events in the town, regeneration of the pier and the new supermarkets show that there is so much improvement going on.”
“I think what we’re seeing is the Whitstable market probably got over-inflated and slowed down,” Mr Goodwin continued.
“Herne Bay is definitely hot on its heels. We are seeing higher prices here than ever before, but it has stabilised recently.”
Paul Clarke, the director of David Clarke Estate Agents in Herne Bay High Street, believes areas along the seafront, such as in Hampton and Beacon Hill, will attract the same level of investment as Tankerton.
As a result, he believes they will attract buyers looking to increase the value of their homes.
He added: “We’ve certainly had customers say they’ve looked into Whitstable, found out it’s over their budget and decided to come to Herne Bay where they can get better value.”
What do they think in Whitstable?
Whitstable property expert Nikki Spiller, sales manager at Mark Smith Estate Agents, believes the increase in prices in Whitstable has pushed residents further along the coast to Herne Bay.
“For homeowners in Whitstable who have lived here a long time, they could decide to sell a semi-detached house here and buy a detached property in Herne Bay,” she explained.
“They can get a better deal there. We had one client who sold a detached house here and bought a larger one in Herne Bay.
“Over time, there’s a possibility it will get towards the prices in Whitstable – one or two properties are starting to show that already.”
What about property prices?
KentOnline reported earlier this month that average prices in the town have risen from £188,808 to £307,691 since 2009.
Meanwhile, buyers just along the coast in Whitstable now face paying almost £150,000 more than a decade ago.
According to Zoopla, property prices in the area have risen by more than £2,800 over the last 12 months, whereas the figure has fallen by £2,523 in the same period in Whitstable.
The home-buying website has also recorded 120 more sales in Herne Bay over the last year.
A man who’s made the move
John Hardy, 53, is one of those who made the switch. Two years ago he swapped a four-bedroom house for a five-bed – saving £100,000 and slicing his mortgage in half in the process.
He says that at the time he had become disillusioned with the levels of congestion in Whitstable and that others feel the same.
“Anecdotally, I know of people thinking of making the same move,” he said.
“There’s a lot of resentment from people who have lived there a long time and they’re fed up with the Whitstable dream being sold to people.
“We got to the point where it was not an enjoyable experience going into town because it was so busy and congested.
“Herne Bay is becoming more attractive. We don’t regret the move at all - we really enjoy living here.”
An architect’s view
In an interview with the Sunday Times, Riba-winning architect Sophie Goldhill said families who have are unable to afford living in Whitstable are moving to Herne Bay.
“The architecture is amazing,” she said. “It used to be more prestigious than Whitstable.
“There are lots of 1970s bungalows with sea views that sell for modest sums - a good opportunity for development.”
Ms Goldhill runs architecture firm Liddicoat and Goldhill with her husband David Liddicoat.