Portstewart is a small town in County Londonderry, Northern Ireland. It had a population of 7,803 people in the 2001 Census. It is a seaside resort neighbouring Portrush. Of the two towns, Portstewart is decidedly quieter with more sedate attractions. Its harbour and scenic coastal paths form an Atlantic promenade leading to 2 miles of golden strand (Portstewart Strand). Portstewart is probably best known for this sandy beach, popular with surfers.
Portstewart was a popular holiday destination for Victorian middle-class families. Its long, crescent-shaped seafront promenade is sheltered by rocky headlands. It is a reasonably prosperous town. Most of the town is contained in the Strand electoral ward and this is one of the most affluent areas in Northern Ireland. In a deprivation index of electoral wards in Northern Ireland the Strand Ward in the town was ranked 570th out of the 582 wards.
House prices in Portstewart have been amongst the highest in Northern Ireland. According to the University of Ulster Quarterly House Price Index report produced in partnership with Bank of Ireland and the Northern Ireland Housing Executive in Q4 2010, the North Coast region (Coleraine/Limavady area) had higher property prices than those of affluent south Belfast.
Due to unusually high second home ownership there has been concern in recent years about the pace of development in the town. The number of holiday houses or apartments being purchased has led to rapid inflation of house prices. The town has also houses many of the students from the nearby Coleraine Campus of the University of Ulster and has a vibrant social and cultural life.
Portstewart is one of the most integrated towns in Northern Ireland with the religious demographics similar to the population of Northern Ireland as a whole. Community relations are generally good within the town. Dominican College, a Catholic grammar school, has a significant proportion of Protestant students and staff.