Those who like to be beside the seaside find Scotland’s most affordable properties

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Strolling along a quiet beach, enjoying an ice-cream and listening to the sound of the waves crashing on the shore before returning home to a cosy seaside haven is something many people dream about but think is way beyond their reach.

But now it has emerged buying a home in the one of Scotland’s seaside towns might just be achievable, with latest figures showing coastal properties cost an average £24,396 less than the rest of Scotland.

And not only that, Scotland scoops nine out of ten places in a list of the UK’s least expensive seaside towns.

Bank of Scotland analysis reveals house prices in towns by the sea have risen at half the rate of the rest of the country – increasing by £7,980 (6 per cent) in the last five years compared with a 12 per cent rise across Scotland .

But the report also highlighted an east/west house price divide, with nine of the top ten most expensive properties located on the eastern coastline while nine out of the ten least expensive seaside towns are on the west coast.

North Berwick, East Lothian scooped the top spot for the second year running as the most expensive seaside town with an average house price of £342,346 in 2017, followed by St Andrews in Fife at £312,063.

Graham Blair, mortgage director at Bank of Scotland, said while potential buyers would be factoring in the commute to work, this was offset by the advantages of a more achievable property and the sought-after location.

“Scotland, with its beautiful coastline, represents fantastic value for money for anyone looking to purchase a seaside property,”Mr Blair said.

“These locations offer a unique lifestyle with a typically high quality of life and a healthy environment.

He added: “Home buyers working in Scotland’s major towns and cities no doubt weigh up commute time and the discount they can receive by moving to the seaside.”

The other most expensive seaside towns north of the border were Newtonhill in third place (£233,855), followed by Stonehaven (£226,687), both in Aberdeenshire, and Dunbar in East Lothian (£211,392).

Millport on the island of Cumbrae is the least expensive in Scotland and the UK, with an average price of £81,233 in 2017, closely followed by Girvan (£91,459) and Saltcoats (£92,891), both in Ayrshire.

Wick in Caithness was in fourth place with property costing £92,891 on average, followed by Irvine in Ayrshire at £98,203.

Six of the top ten least expensive towns have an average price below £100,000.

House prices in Argyll and Bute bucked the national trend and saw the biggest increases.

Prices in Port Ballantyne rose £29,544 (41 per cent) in 2016-17, the biggest increase in Scotland, while in Campbeltown they rose £24,652 – a 31 per cent increase.

But perhaps the novelty of being by the sea can wear off eventually –the average happiness rating of the ten most expensive and ten least expensive seaside towns is 7.5 – the same happiness rating as ­Scotland as a whole, the research found.