Bustling harbour towns, clean beaches and plenty of peak-season elbow room make it hard to resist
The wild west of Wales is where you’ll find the best beaches in the country. Sandy strands, picturesque coves, windswept dunes — they’re all here, along with dramatic sunsets, bustling harbour towns and a lot more peak-season elbow room than you’d get in Devon or Cornwall.
No wonder, then, that this corner of the country is a strong contender for the hotly contested title of pandemic Britain’s craziest housing market.
“It’s simply berserk. There are so many buyers chasing so few houses that when anything does come on the market, it is likely to attract dozens of viewings and will probably go to sealed bids,” says Carol Peett, the owner of West Wales Property Finders. “New clients signing on with us say agents aren’t even bothering to acknowledge their offers as there have been so many. I had two offers accepted on properties we sourced off market for clients just today and are showing clients two further off-market properties tomorrow.”
Richard Emanuel, a director of John Francis estate agency, says that the boom is being driven by all kinds of buyers. Some are investing in holiday lets to cash in on the UK holiday boom, others are downsizers looking to rekindle memories of summers past, and they’re now being joined by young families looking to spend a lot less time in the office and a lot more time on the beach. “They all want the same thing: a detached house with space and a garden, and the schooling’s important too. And people will pay extra for a sea view or a walk to the seashore,” he says.
Although there’s no sign of an immediate let-up, he thinks that the market will calm down eventually, perhaps after the holiday season or when the pandemic subsides and older homeowners decide that putting their house on the market won’t mean risking their health.
For now, buyers need to be ready to move fast, and can’t be too choosy about location. Thankfully, there’s something on offer for every type of seasider: sailors, surfers, walkers, and wildlife-watchers. For a bucket-and-spade vibe, few places can match Tenby with its three sandy strands and a picture-perfect harbour overlooked by colourful Georgian houses (at present selling for well over £1 million) that has launched a thousand postcards. It’s a bit of a party town — especially when there’s a rugby victory to celebrate — so if you’d prefer something quieter, have a look at the beautiful village of Manorbier a few miles to the west or the lower-key resort of Saundersfoot a couple of miles to the east.
Eloise Williams, the author and the Welsh children’s laureate, moved here from Cardiff seven years ago and is still enchanted by the landscape.
“We have miles of coastal path, marine conservation zones, magical islands, magnificent caves linked to stories of smugglers and pirates. The wildlife here is spectacular. Seas filled with dolphins and seals. Skies of gannets, red kites, bats and owls. Puffins bob on the waves and oystercatchers wade. The flowers here are glorious. It’s a place to rest and relax by turquoise seas and wander long sandy beaches. It’s a place to think and reset. It eases the soul. I love it here,” she says.
This end of Pembrokeshire is all pretty accessible, under two and a half hours from the Severn Bridge and only 15 minutes from the station at the market town of Narberth.
If walking boots, binoculars and wetsuits are more your thing, the windswept beaches and rocky coves of the rugged west coast offer a more away-from-it-all atmosphere. You’ll need a degree of commitment. It’s an extra 45 minutes in the car to go pretty much anywhere, and you’ll also want — if not necessarily need — to speak Welsh.
There’s barely a duff spot on this stretch of coast. At the southern end are three impeccably pretty villages: Marloes and Dale, which has a great pub in the Griffin and a pontoon where children can spend happy hours crabbing or learning to sail or paddleboard, and Little Haven, at the southern end of St Brides Bay, a charming fishing village with three good pubs. The scenery gets wilder as you head north to Solva, a sophisticated old harbour village popular with the sailing crowd. You can buy lobsters fresh from the boats and Welsh cakes from MamGu, then gaze at the views from the excellent café on the quay.
If you’re hankering for a bit of city life, it’s just a short hop from here to St Davids. With a population under 2,000 here, it’s hardly metropolitan, but Britain’s smallest city does have more than a dash of culture, with art galleries and a music festival. It has an innovative, eco-minded streak too. The city is working towards carbon neutral status and it’s where you’ll find Grub Kitchen, “the UK’s first full-time edible insect café/restaurant”.
Fishguard is a workaday ferry port that is just beginning to appear on the radar of incoming househunters. Properties are more plentiful here, with bungalows and terraces starting at about £200,000. Prices are a lot higher in Newport, just up the road — it’s the most expensive in Pembrokeshire at an average of £366,000 according to the estate agency Savills — though there’s a lot more wow factor in its pretty lanes, sparkling estuary beaches and the endless views from the nearby Preseli Hills.
St Dogmaels, Pembrokeshire’s northernmost outpost, is on the Teifi estuary rather than the sea, but Poppit Sands, the local beach, seems endless at low tide. There’s a brilliant farmers’ market every Tuesday and arty, crafty Cardigan is just five minutes away by the local bus that’s known as the Poppit Rocket……………………
The Times – Friday 30th April 2021 https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/where-to-buy-property-in-pembrokeshire-cpzs2trgm?
If you are looking for a property in Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire or Ceredigion give West Wales Property Finders a call on 01834 862816 http://www.westwalespropertyfinders.co.uk We can find your perfect property for you whilst saving you time, stress and often money too.