Published: 12:00, 12 November 2020
| Updated: 17:52, 12 November 2020
Three Kent towns have topped the list of the most desirable seaside locations for buyers wanting to move out of London.
Ramsgate scored highest in the study, claiming top spot, followed closely by Broadstairs in second and Margate, third.
The Thanet towns come ahead of typically sought-after places such as Brighton, Paignton in Devon, and Newquay and St Ives in Cornwall.
Also ranked among the best areas - listed in the latest Property Market-Index rating report - were Deal and Whitstable, in fifth and sixth place respectively.
The report shows which seaside locations rate the highest for people wanting to buy a second home or move out of London, where the average house price is £655,000.
It considers cleanliness and beaches, house price growth, value for money, schools, culture and ease of getting into the capital.
It also takes into account the dramatic impact of the pandemic and people's desire for more open space and less crowding.
All areas were given a mark out of 100, with Ramsgate, which has an average house price of £245,000, coming out on top due to its heritage, beaches, schools and significant regeneration projects, such as Manston, Thanet Parkway and Royal Sands.
The report states: "Brilliant location, maritime heritage, clean environment, wonderful beaches, café culture, out of town shopping, schools and easy access to London.
"Property still well priced and good value for money compared with more well-known seaside towns.
"New airport at Manston and railway station will improve transport links further, as well as job creation."
The report likens Ramsgate's beaches to those in Cornwall, Dorset and Devon, praises its "thriving" arts scene and highlights the quick journey time to London due to HS1, which has led to an upsurge in interest in moving to the coast.
'House prices in Thanet continue to outpace the London market as people seek a safer and better environment' - Scott Rigden
It also highlights the £50 million beach-front development Royal Sands Ramsgate, which is being built by Blueberry Homes.
Royal Sands, which is expected to be completed in three years, will boast 106 luxury apartments priced from £275,000 to £750,000.
Each will have its own terrace and sea views, just 10 yards from the beach.
There will also be a hotel, and leisure and retail alongside the promenade.
Spokesman for Blueberry Homes Scott Rigden says there has been high demand for the apartments over the last few months, kickstarting phase two of the build.
"Close to 50% of the first-phase apartments have now been secured despite the pandemic," he said.
"House prices in Thanet continue to outpace the London market as people seek a safer and better environment along the coast, as well as value for money.
"We are very proud of our local roots and our track record with regeneration of brownfield sites.
"We are also currently regenerating the old gasworks at Ramsgate and Margate for entry level housing and have more sites coming on stream for 2021."
Broadstairs also performed well, coming in at second due to its "unique charm, quality luxury homes and being one of the nicest and safest places to live in the country".
"It has many independent shops and restaurants and the harbour area feels more like it should be in Cornwall or Devon," the report said.
"Excellent properties along the various award-winning bays and beaches are just a short walk from the main beach.
"It also offers scenic walks to its neighbouring towns of Ramsgate and Margate and there are outstanding schools, plus a safe and friendly environment for all ages."
The only drawback outlined in the report is the high property prices - which average £338,0000 - and less potential for growth in house prices.
Margate, where an average house costs £230,000, was ranked third, with the report highlighting its "great culture and vibe" and Turner Contemporary's contribution to its growing success.
"This previously tired but iconic seaside resort has since grown to rival Brighton for its diverse cultural scene.
"Tracey Emin and many other artists have made the town their base and been followed by a community of writers, and other creatives.
"It is said to have an Islington feel and, with the redevelopment of the old town and the historic Dreamland amusement park, the town is now bringing millions of visitors and money back into the area.
"It is an extraordinary turnaround and this has been reflected in house prices rising from a very low base 15 years ago to comparison now with its neighbour, Broadstairs."
In the report, Deal is praised for its friendly independent traders, walks and sense of community.
And Whitstable is described as having an "intimate" feel although its crowding during the summer is listed as a drawback.
The pandemic is believed to have led to renewed interest from people wanting to move out of London, due to more people working from home.
Belvoir estate agents, in Tunbridge Wells, says they have seen an increase in people from the capital interested in buying homes in the county.
And house-builder Barratt Homes says much of the interest is being driven by first-time buyers.