Coastal second homes market is still thriving

THE recession is failing to dent the second homes market on the Suffolk coast, according to latest figures.

Despite the harsh economic climate it appears holidaymakers are continuing to snap up property in some the county's most prestigious resorts.

According to figures from the district councils there were 2,592 second homes registered in Suffolk Coastal last year and 1,340 in Waveney.

This compares to 2,581 for Suffolk Coastal in 2009 and 1,329 for Waveney – an overall increase of 22.

Although not a huge amount it shows the county continues to attract considerable interest from holidaymakers.

Particular hot spots include Bawdsey, near Woodbridge, where 36pc of properties are second homes, Southwold where 34.6pc of properties are second homes and Walberswick, where 34pc of properties are second homes.

Lydia Clavesbert, chairman of Bawdsey Parish Council, said having so many holiday homes in the village was a catch 22 situation.

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She said while on the one hand people came and spent money, on the other the sense of community had been affected.

'It is a subject very close to my heart,' she said. 'I am Suffolk born and bred and have lived in Bawdsey for 37 years. I've seen huge swathes of indigenous people leave and replaced by weekenders.

'When people move in they also take the opportunity to extend their properties, which means they can lose their character.

'What we could do with is affordable homes. There is no social housing in the village. We have a new development of 12 houses which has been looked on with a great deal of disquiet by local people because they felt it was going to bring in the sort of people that would not be living here between October and March.

'It does make it hard to find people to help with events such as the village fete. There are a very small band of us. We do get great support from the public, but you can count on one hand the number of people who help out who are weekenders.'

With golden beaches, picturesque countryside and easy access to London, Suffolk is seen as a prime location for holidaymakers.

Oliver Johnson, a partner at Framlingham estate agent Clarke and Simpson, said in the last couple of weeks they had sold second homes in Southwold and Thorington, near Halesworth.

'The demand is still there,' he said. 'Here in east Suffolk we are fortunate enough to live in a very popular part of the world.

'It has great access to a fantastic coastline and countryside and it still keeps – when compared to London and the south-east – very good value.

'With the slight downturn we have seen, those with access to liquidity are taking advantage and thinking 'lets invest in a second home'. Not just for nostalgic reasons because they used to holiday here as a child, but also from a commercial point of view. When levels do recover they will be able to benefit from that

Top 10 places for second homes by percentage

Overall Number

number of 2nd % 2nd

of houses homes homes

Bawdsey 175 63 36

Southwold 1,144 396 34.6

Walberswick 315 107 34

Dunwich 82 26 31.7

Aldringham 594 185 31.1

Ramsholt 13 4 30.8

Blythburgh 188 55 29.3

Aldeburgh 1,958 561 28.7

Iken 60 16 26.7

Orford 428 96 22.4

Other places of interest

Number Number

of housing of 2nd % 2nd

stock homes homes

Reydon 1,399 158 11.3

Woodbridge 3,938 135 3.4

Framlingham 1,501 34 2.3

Halesworth 2,437 56 2.3

Felixstowe 11,280 179 1.6

SOURCES: Suffolk Coastal District Council and Waveney District Council