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Whitstable Views: House prices in Whitstable

Updated on September 15, 2016
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CJ Stone is a writer and a postal worker. He has lived in Whitstable for over thirty years.

From The Whitstable Gazette

Beacon House, Whitstable: "a beautiful place to live."
Beacon House, Whitstable: "a beautiful place to live."

New York Times

Once again Whitstable has featured in the New York Times, with a story about Beacon House on Tankerton Beach in its Great Homes and Destinations section. The previous occasion was in 2009 when the town appeared in the Travel section as “A Day Out From London”.

Then it concentrated on restaurants. This time it focuses on house prices.

The only quote from someone other than the owners is from Paul Jordan of Ward & Partners who tells us that property prices in the area have continued to rise in recent years, adding that “in comparison to London prices they would look very good value.”

So what does that mean? Are we to expect an influx of wealthy New Yorkers now to add to the boho Londoners who have already colonised whole segments of the town?

I know from my job as a postal worker that there are certain streets which are virtually empty in the winter months, in which the majority of houses are second homes.

Not that I’m complaining about Katrina Brown and James Drury’s ownership of Beacon House. It is a beautiful place to live.

As it says in the article, it was “unmortgageable and uninsurable” when they bought it, being only 15 metres from the sea at high tide. It needed a wealthy family to bring it back to life.

Who hasn’t walked passed the cottage on a stroll along the shore and not imagined what it would be like to live there?

Jobs

The problem is that children brought up in Whitstable are consistently being forced to move somewhere else. Not only are house prices and rents unmanageably high, but there aren’t any decent jobs available.

How many people working at Tesco are able to sustain the kind of mortgage that living in Whitstable requires these days?

This can’t be good for the life of the town.

It’s great that our town attracts artistic people like Ms Brown and Mr Drury, along with celebrities and musicians and other creative types, but without ordinary people to help give it perspective, maybe Whitstable is in danger of drowning in its own pretentiousness.

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    • Amanda Severn profile image

      Amanda Severn 

      23 months ago from UK

      Hi Chris, I visited Whitstable recently, and boy has it changed since I was last there in the seventies! I completely see the attraction for visitors. It's just a shame that it's impacting on the house prices. Of course Whitstable is not unique in this regard. Favoured parts of Cornwall, Devon, and Norfolk have been hit far harder. I wonder if there are statistics on second home ownership? I imagine that the much-publicised housing shortage could be quickly resolved if it was made harder to own more than one home, and also made illegal to keep property standing empty for lengthy periods. I see in the news that the residents of St Ives have voted to ban developers from selling new properties to non-locals. In one sense it's a case of biting the hand that feeds them, but if nothing is done soon, how can low-paid indigenous populations survive in order to service the in-comers? It's a very odd world we live in. Still, at least Whitstable's nearby coastal neighbours have remained affordable, even if they too have been impacted by the London commuter ripple effect.

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