Published: 13:44, 17 September 2020
| Updated: 14:02, 17 September 2020
A seaside town in Kent has been ranked the best coastal location to move to in the UK.
Whitstable topped a list compiled by Compare My Move, which rated more than 150 places in the country.
Researchers considered a number of factors, including average house prices, beach ratings, the weather and quality of beach water.
Nearby Herne Bay clinched fourth place in the study, while Hythe (14), Sandgate (17), and Folkestone (20) all made the top 20.
Margate (89) and Ramsgate (92) found themselves well down the rankings, while other Kent locations such as Dover and Deal are not among the 150.
Latest figures show the average house price in Whitstable is £394,403, making it the highest in Kent included on the list.
It and seaside neighbour Herne Bay also have the joint highest median full-time salary in the country at £34,705.
And according to reviews of beaches left on Google, Whitstable's was ranked the best in Kent.
But last month it was named as one of the UK's safest dog-friendly seafronts.
Branch manager of Whitstable estate agents KimberWoodward Catal Bishopp says there has been an "accelerated influx" of people wanting to move to the town.
"There has long been a migration of London and Medway Towns folk coming down this way as the commuter belt extends," he said.
"But in light of recent events, that commuter belt has become endless. Lots of people are working from home and only commuting once or twice a week, some people not at all."
He says house prices have not really increased this year - but after the lifting of lockdown there was a busy period of interest.
"In my lifetime Whitstable has surpassed Herne Bay in terms of money and house prices - but it never used to be like that," he added.
"There are a couple of distinct geographical differences. Whitstable has a shorter usable shoreline than Herne Bay, but it has a longer established utility of the area, by way of the pubs and restaurants that encompass the beach more.
"Whitstable is a smaller, quainter seaside town but Herne Bay has the opportunity to grow because it’s bigger with a longer stretch of beach, so there’s more opportunity for redevelopment - whereas Whitstable is developed."
Paul Clarke, who owns David Clarke estate agents in Herne Bay, is “not at all surprised” the town bagged a top five spot.
“Herne Bay has a lovely coastline with lots of nice walks up at Reculver, and the council have spent a lot of money on the seafront with lots of amenities," he said.
“With house prices, we’ve got good quality housing stock and it’s a sensible price compared to other parts of the country.
"To those moving here Herne Bay can seem much quieter, like a sleepy town, but to me it seems busier than it was years ago."
Mr Clarke says house prices in Herne Bay have "crept up", and according to Zoopla the average value is now £292,996 - more than £100,000 less than Whitstable.
"Whitstable also has a lovely coastline, walks and beach," he added. "There are lots of nice boutique shops that are a bit different that you can’t get in other towns.
"I think the boutique-style shops have a broad appeal and are definitely a help to drawing house buyers to Whitstable.
"People retiring here is the main block and obviously people looking for a second home. Because Whitstable is a bit more condensed it gives it a slight advantage."
For the full Compare My Move list of the best coastal locations to move to in the UK, click here.