While estate agents just about everywhere in the UK are sweating over Brexit uncertainty and a looming downturn, a rare few on the Pembrokeshire coast think it’s boom time.
“It’s as if a plague of locusts has descended since autumn, buying up every good coastal property,” says Carol Peett, a buying agent at West Wales Property Finders. “We saw more inquiries from people wanting to buy holiday homes, mostly with a budget of £400,000-£500,000, in the first three weeks of January than we’d normally expect in a year.” Properties in popular areas such as Manorbier and Bosherston have regularly gone to bidding wars.
It’s a similar story in Devon, where Sarah-Jane Bingham-Chick, head of residential for Savills estate agency in Exeter, reports her office’s best-ever start to a year. “We just sold a £3m house to someone who was intending to buy in the Côte d’Azur, but then spent a week in the South Hams during last year’s hot summer and has bought in Devon instead. This month alone, we have agreed sales on three coastal homes, all on the River Dart, before even launching them to market.”
So what’s causing all the fuss? One reason is the huge demand for staycations — and staycation rentals. If you weren’t googling your UK holiday let for this summer right after clearing away the Christmas turkey, you may already be too late.
On a dreary Sunday last month, Sykes Cottages, a holiday rentals company that lists more than 4,000 homes, took 2,519 bookings — that’s 10,000 holidaymakers in total — representing a 36% increase on bookings on the same Sunday year on year. The two most popular properties have been a Welsh boathouse and a woodland cottage in the Highlands.
“A quarter of the Brits we polled said Brexit will encourage them to holiday in the UK this year,” says Graham Donoghue, the firm’s chief executive. “The increased costs of international travel and the prospect of another heatwave could tempt more people than ever to stay in Britain.”
The luxury specialist Oliver’s Travels has seen a 21% rise in searches for UK properties in the past three months, compared with the same period last year; figures for France fell by 12%, Italy by 45% and Greece by 67%.
“People are searching for party houses in the UK,” says Oliver Bell, the company’s co-founder. “Some of our repeat customers who always book Portugal have switched to the UK this year for the first time.”
At another holiday-let firm, Mulberry Cottages, 2018 ended with a 30% rise in bookings for this summer, compared with the same time the previous year. Large family bookings for 10 or more people are a notable trend, and the Cotswolds has seen the biggest growth in demand.
Pet-friendly properties, hot tubs and a pub within walking distance all rank high on holidaymakers’ wish lists. Tiny cottages are also big this year: “Perhaps it’s the romance,” says Rowena Owen, operations director for Mulberry Cottages. “It’s becoming more mainstream to book a holiday let for a couple instead of a hotel room”…………
Savills sees no reason for the staycation trend to wane. In its recent Second Homes Spotlight, the agency found that 39% of Brits sampled — those who advertised rentals on HomeAway — had bought a short-let home in the UK in the past three years, compared with 14% in the previous survey, done in pre-crisis 2007.
The mushrooming number of holiday-let management companies promises to make owners’ lives easier — and potentially more lucrative — by dealing with everything from marketing to maintenance. One, Hostmaker, claims it achieves a typical occupancy rate of 84% for its London properties (compared with a 72% average for amateur lone London hosts, according to the analyst AirDNA), and an average 30% higher revenue than long-term rentals return.
Few would want to pin their fortunes on the outcome of Brexit and the British climate, but it seems the UK’s holiday-home owners may have found a way to benefit from both.
https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/is-a-uk-holiday-bolthole-the-best-investment-you-can-make-this-year-v3rpkrrnq – Sunday Times 17th February 2019
If you are looking to purchase a holiday home, buy to let or indeed to move to Pembrokeshire, Ceredigion, Carmarthenshire or Gower, then give West Wales Property Finders a call on 01834 862816. We can find your perfect property for you whilst saving you time, stress and often money too. http://www.westwalespropertyfinders.co.uk