THE North-East is the perfect place to live with its vast countryside, waterfalls and coastal beauty spots within an hour or two drive.

Tyne and Wear is a myriad of historic and iconic towns, villages and bustling cities.

With the rivers Tyne and Wear characterising such areas, it is not a surprise that some locations have seen a surge in buyer searches, according to the latest Rightmove data.

The new figures reveal the top five most desirable places to live in the county - and coastal towns are gaining in popularity.

Here are the areas in Tyne and Wear, categorised by Rightmove, that have seen the biggest increase in interest recently. 

Sunderland

Annual increase in buyer searches: 64 per cent 

The Northern Echo: The Stadium of LightThe Stadium of Light

Sat at the mouth of the river Wear, ten miles away from Newcastle and 12 from Durham, the port city is well connected to Washington via bus and to Newcastle via the Metro.

Its Metro station doubles up as a national stop, with Grand Central trains connection the popular student city with Yorkshire and London. 

Sunderland has a rich history of shipbuilding and glass making, making it famous for many things, including its football team. 

The National Glass Centre and Winter Gardens make for great days out, while you can never tire of the iconic The Wearmouth Bridge over the river Wear.

Average house asking price: £139,711

Whitley Bay

Annual increase in buyer searches: 64 per cent 

The Northern Echo: Whitley Bay seafrontWhitley Bay seafront

Whitley Bay is a popular holiday spot for caravan lovers, but more and more people are looking to set down roots in the town. 

Its golden sandy beach is an appealing offer, especially when it's just ten miles from Newcastle and three from the popular coastal town Tynemouth, both which are accessible via Metro.

Whitley Bay is well known for St Mary's Island, a tidal spot at the northern tip of the town and the site of a lighthouse.

Average house asking price: £280,457

North Shields 

Annual increase in buyer searches: 52 per cent

The Northern Echo: Cullercoats beach, North ShieldsCullercoats beach, North ShieldsNorth Shields sits on the north bank of the Tyne and is well known for its fishing trade, with bustling restaurants and a fish quay just opposite. 

Well served by the Metro and the Shields Ferry, taking you to South Shields, the town is just eight miles from Newcastle. 

The North Sea coastline is a popular spot for surfers and swimmers in the region, with Cullercoats Marina offering shelter from lively waves. 

You can walk right along the Tyne and up to Tynemouth passing iconic landmarks.

Average house asking price: £211,655

Gateshead

Annual increase in buyer searches: 49 per cent 

The Northern Echo: The Angel of the North, GatesheadThe Angel of the North, Gateshead

Just over the River Tyne from Newcastle is Gateshead, a large town with a great transport system and some nice neighbourhoods with community spirit. 

An increasingly popular spot for students due to its proximity to Newcastle and Northumbria universities, it's also home to cultural spots like the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art and Sage Gateshead.

Gateshead home to the Metrocentre, a large shopping centre once the largest in Europe, the Team Valley Trading Estate and the iconic Angel of the North. 

Average house asking price: £156,637

Washington 

Annual increase in buyer searches: 47 per cent 

The Northern Echo: Penshaw Monument, just outside of Washington in SunderlandPenshaw Monument, just outside of Washington in Sunderland

Washington is a large, post-war new town within the city of Sunderland. 

Bang in the middle of Newcastle, Sunderland and Durham, it has close ties with each city and therefore makes for the perfect commuter town.

With the Galleries Shopping Centre and Princess Anne's Park at its centre, Washington is thought to be the birthplace of the ancestors of George Washington, the first President of the United States. 

Its historic village centre is home to an iconic church on a hill neighbouring Washington Old Hall and its gardens, which garners some American tourism.

Average house asking price: £158,952