Real estate | How much extra does it cost to own a waterfront property?

waterfront property

Who doesn’t love a view? Whether it’s waking up to a snowy mountain scene in the Alps or the beautiful blue of the Mediterranean Sea, as many as 50% of respondents to a Knight Frank Global Buyer Survey said recently that a view is more important to them now than before the pandemic. 

It’s a global appreciation too, with properties that boast a remarkable vista or coveted outlook commanding considerable premiums the world over. 

This is all the more true for waterfront properties – those with a view of the sea, the ocean, a lake, a river or even a port – as revealed in the inaugural International Waterfront Index from Knight Frank.  

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According to the report, beachfront properties globally demand a premium of 76%. Homes with a harbour or port view are close behind, generating a 61% premium internationally. Riverside homes (39%), properties on the coast (36%) and lakeside residences (35%) have seen their prices drive up too thanks to their enviable locations.  


Properties along Monaco’s 3.8km of coastline, which includes two ports of significance and the Plage du Larvotto, command a 42% premium on homes that aren’t on the waterfront. This inflation put the Principality in third place for the highest waterfront premiums globally, behind a pair of cities on the other side of the world.  


In 2023, waterfront homes in the Australian city of Sydney generated a 118% premium on those even just a street away, with the Knight Frank report describing properties owning with views of Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House as “trophy homes”.  

Next in the ranking comes Auckland in New Zealand’s North Island, where waterfront homes create a 58% premium.  

Then, following Monaco in third, is the Cap d’Antibes with a 40% premium for its coastal residences. The French capital of Paris, a city carved in two by the River Seine, rounds out the Top Five with a 38% premium for its riverside properties.  


“Frontline water access is a rarity in cities and protected areas of outstanding natural beauty,” says Kate Everett-Allan, Knight Frank’s Head of International Residential Research. “Tight building restrictions will limit the availability of stock, whilst on the demand side, investors vie for such homes alongside second home purchasers, given their rentability as holiday lets.”

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For Knight Frank’s Mark Harvey, “Waterfront continues to captivate; the scarcity contributes to the desirability and underpins significant returns on investment. Buyers are opting for more practical homes, favouring resort-style managed environments with amenities and family-friendly facilities. Combining such facilities with a waterfront location is even more compelling.” 


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Photo source: Mat Helot, Unsplash