SOUTHEND has been rated in the UK's top 20 sunny locations that can bought for less than the average house price, a study has found.

The town was found to be the 12th most affordable location with nearby Rochford also creeping in at 19th.

The average price for a seaside retreat in Southend will cost you is £309,426.

In Rochford, the average house price is £352,251.

Average prices for homes in around a third of the sunniest places to live - seven in 20 - are cheaper than the national average of £252,983, Halifax said.

The bank made the findings using Met Office figures - and said all of the 20 sunniest places to live are in the South East, the South West or the East of England.

Andy Bickers, mortgages director, Halifax, said: "As a nation with a longstanding obsession with the weather, we usually associate sunshine with the south - as well as scorching house prices.

"The good news is that house-hunters after a place in the sun can max out the rays for less than the average UK house price in many of the hottest locations."

The best place for sun-seekers on a budget is Weymouth and Portland in Dorset, where a property which enjoys around 35.8 hours of sunshine per week costs an average of just £204,447, £48,536, or 19 per cent less than the UK average.

Torbay, Gosport, the Isle of Wight, Hastings, Eastbourne and Dover were also identified as sunny locations with house prices below the national average.

But several sun spots do come at a premium.

The priciest in the study is Brighton and Hove - where home-buyers can typically expect to pay £367,213 - although they will also enjoy 34.3 hours of sunshine a week.

In Southend, residents on average enjoy around 33.5 hours of sunshine every week.