House prices in Worthing are rising faster than in Brighton and Hove, showing the gap is closing between the two seaside resorts.

According to a survey by the Nationwide building society, Brighton prices are rising by 24.9 per cent while in Worthing the increase is 25.6 per cent.

The average price of a house in Brighton is now £165, 508, in Worthing £133,409.

Estate agents in Worthing have noticed a surge of interest in the past year, especially from first time buyers and people pushed out of the city by exorbitant house prices.

Derek Steel, partner of Jacobs Steel and Co in Worthing, said: "Because prices were so high in Brighton anyway, a lot of investors have now been targeting Worthing as a good place to invest their money in property on a buy and let basis.

"We have had a lot of people moving from the Brighton area to Worthing because property in Brighton is that much higher. Worthing is an up and coming town and a good place to live."

Steven Goddard, managing director of Goddards in Worthing, said: "There is a clear swing in the level of enquiries in Worthing from people living in Brighton who are being priced out of there.

"There is a particular interest from first time buyers."

The news follows a report today from the Countryside Agency which highlights cheap housing as one of the South East's biggest problems.