Property and TV – ‘The Broadchurch effect’

Property and TV – ‘The Broadchurch effect’

Online estate agents Tepilo analyse the ‘Broadchurch effect’ and the link between hit TV shows and rising house prices.

Broadchurch is currently back on our screens for its third and final series, with the gripping ITV whodunnit famous for its twisty narratives, numerous red herrings and sweeping shots of the stunning Dorset coastline.

Ever since the first series aired in 2013, visitors and tourists have been drawn to the locations that feature heavily in the crime drama. But has the so-called Broadchurch effect had an impact on house prices in the areas where the fictional Broadchurch town is set? And what of other major shows known for their iconic locations or stunning scenery? Below, combining our TV and property knowledge, we take a closer look.

Broadchurch

One of ITV’s most popular dramas ever, this show has become a must-watch event TV for many. Featuring heavily in the programme, and plot, is the beautiful and dramatic Jurassic Coast, which has long been a magnet for tourists and day-trippers. Since Broadchurch, its appeal has soared.

The picture-perfect setting of Dorset seaside resort West Bay, with its towering cliffs in the background, is used extensively, with the beach, harbour, pier, promenade, local police station and seaside café used in Broadchurch all based here.

West Bay, close to the lively market town of Bridport, was a largely unheralded destination until Broadchurch hit our screens, but it has experienced a huge uplift in interest ever since, with demand for accommodation in the area – caravans, hotels, B&Bs, etc. – rising massively in recent years.

The two-bedroom blue beach chalet used by David Tennant’s character during the series was put up for sale in early 2015 with an asking price of £275,000, a price that had been significantly upped by the ‘Broadchurch effect’.

West Bay currently has an overall average price of just over £290,000, up by around 3% in the last year. Detached properties are by far the most popular, accounting for the majority of sales in 2016, with an average price of almost £345,000.

It’s not just West Bay, though – Clevedon, a coastal town in north Somerset, doubles up as Broadchurch’s high street and is home to many of the exterior scenes appearing in the award-winning drama. The seaside town, not far from Bristol, currently has an average asking price of £287,493, according to Rigthmove. This is up by a massive 18% on the year before and 18% up on the prices seen in 2014.

Portishead, another coastal town in Somerset just a few miles north of Clevedon, has also been used heavily for filming, bringing national fame to a location previously best known for its association with the trip hop band of the same name. Prices have also gone up significantly in recent times, rising by around 9% in the last year to reach an average of over £325,000. Prices are also up by 25% on 2014, when the average price was just shy of £260,000.

Poldark

The brooding drama, set in 18th century Cornwall, is perhaps best known for the topless scything carried out by Aidan Turner (who plays Captain Ross Poldark), which has had certain viewers swooning with delight since the show first aired in 2015.

Adapted from Winston Graham’s best-selling novels, the plot revolves around Ross Poldark and his attempts to turn around the fortunes of his late father’s estate. With much of the action taking place outdoors, the wonderful Cornish scenery has become a star in its own right, as integral to the story as plot, music or character.

Famously beautiful, dazzling and diverse – varying from rugged landscapes to quaint fishing villages, and golden sandy beaches to dramatic cliff-tops and coves – the Cornwall coastline has long been admired by tourists and visitors.

Charlestown, a few miles south of St Austell, is a village and port that has remained remarkably unspoilt and picturesque. It looks much the same now as it would have looked in the 1780s. As such, it’s a popular choice among location scouts, thanks to its traditional Georgian appearance and harbour full of square-rigged ships that take you back to another age.

For Poldark, it was passed off as the Cornish city of Truro and plays a key role throughout the two series that have so far hit our screens. The average price in Charlestown is a respectable £250,000, although the ‘Poldark effect’ has not been anywhere near as strong as the Broadchurch one, with prices in Charlestown down by 6% in the last year and 15% down on 2005 price levels.  

In Padstow, though, it’s a more positive picture for house prices. The town, famous for its bustling working fishing port, Rick Stein and its reputation as a foodie hub, isn’t actually featured in the programme, but many of the cliff shots and scenes relied on the spectacular coastline of North Cornwall. As a popular tourist and second home location, Padstow has a much higher average asking price of over £405,000, with sold prices roughly similar to a year ago, but up by 7% on 2010.

Gavin & Stacey

The much-loved BBC romcom, written by James Corden and Ruth Jones, ran for three series from 2007 to 2010, telling the comic love story of an Essex boy called Gavin (Mathew Horne) and a Welsh girl called Stacey (Joanna Page). An all-star supporting cast included Corden, Jones, Rob Brydon, Alison Steadman and Larry Lamb.

The success of the show also brought much-needed trade and tourism to one of its central locations – Barry Island. In fact, all of the show’s filming – even scenes that were supposed to be taking place in Billericay – took place in Barry and its surrounding areas.

The South Wales seaside resort, famed for its beach and Pleasure Park, has become a huge tourist hit since the programme first burst onto our screens, with fans eager to check out where their favourite scenes were filmed. This demand has, of course, been pounced upon, with Gavin & Stacey walking tours and tourist trails on offer.

Gavin & Stacey’s popularity hasn’t just had a positive impact on the perception of the town and its attractiveness as a tourist location, it also seems to have had a positive effect on house prices. Although the show ended a number of years ago now, prices have been steadily rising in recent years, with the average asking price on Barry Island coming in at just over £190,000, while in Barry it is almost £160,000. On Barry Island, prices rose by 12% in the last year. In Barry itself, prices have risen by 4% since 2014.

South Wales is one of the most affordable regions in the UK, and this is reflected by the house prices on offer. This, and the fact that the locations featured in Gavin & Stacey lie on the doorstep, ensure that demand for homes here remains high.

If you’re lucky enough to live in an area where filming for a TV show or film is taking place, or if your hometown or village is like gold-dust to location managers, it is likely that the increased recognition, national fame and pull for tourists that this brings will also have a positive impact on local house prices.