Top Price in November 06: £3,950,000
Embassy Court, renovated art deco
apartment block on the seafront
The property market in Brighton & Hove has been buoyant for many years. House prices in Brighton rose by 260% between 1996 and 2006, the second highest in the country. This is a compact city, bounded by the sea and the Downs (which are soon to become a national park). The limit of greenfield development has been reached. New building can only take place on brownfield sites, a few large ones (such as the King Alfred, Brighton Marina, and Brighton station site redevelopments) and other small infill sites as they arise. That's why blocks of flats are common and even skyscrapers are back.
The supply of homes is limited and there are a number of factors which keep demand high. The city has recovered economically since the mid 1990s, and is now seen as a very desirable place to live. Many move down from London, a move made easy by the margin of difference in house prices between London's sky high prices and Brighton's merely high prices. It is even a popular place for celebrities of one sort or another.
Other pressures are the impact of the 20,000 plus full time students at the city's two universities, plus English language students from abroad, plus the influx of almost 13,000 foreign workers, many from the latest round of EU membership countries. On the up side, this gives the city a very young, cosmopolitan feel. Brighton has always had a large private rented housing sector, and today it is a popular location for the new breed of buy-to-let landlord.
At the bottom end of the market are two types of property. One, is the ex-council house, which is usually either a semi-detached property or one in a small terrace. These are good value because there is a discount which reflects location. They are also attractive to buy-to-let landlords looking for a student let. Then there is the small, one bedroom flat. The high demand for properties has resulted in the conversion of even small terraced homes into self-contained units. At the top end of the market are Grade-listed houses in the Regency squares and terraces on the seafront, and palatial residences in suburbs such as Withdean.