Shane Richie reveals his 'essentials' for caravan holidays
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UK holidays have become the only feasible option for many Britons amid seemingly ever-changing international travel restrictions and the subsequent costs. The popularity of staycations has coincided with an uptick in holiday homeownership across the nation, according to Raoul Fraser, founder of Lovat Parks.
Across the company’s seven UK-based holiday parks, spanning Cornwall, Norfolk, Kent and the New Forest, there are currently 700 holiday homeowners ranging from static caravans all the way up to “twin unit luxury holiday lodges”.
According to Mr Fraser, 2021 in particular has had phones ringing off the hook.
“This year the demand has been phenomenal and most of our parks now have waiting lists,” he told Express.co.uk.
“We average 25 new customer meetings a week which stem from approximately 75 new customer enquiries.”
While the pandemic has “magnified” Britons’ interest in homeownership, Mr Fraser says popularity has been gradually rising in recent years.
“It’s been rising because the quality of parks is getting better and better all the time,” he explained.
“Not only in terms of how they look but also in terms of the accommodation.”
Long gone are the traditional caravans of the 1960s. Some of the luxury lodges on offer at Lovat Parks boast everything from spacious, open plan living areas to state-of-the-art kitchens, including built-in appliances.
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“They are unbelievable quality now,” said Mr Fraser
“And they’ll last 70 years in the case for the lodges.
“We offer 50 year licence terms for our holiday lodges and that’s a good amount of time for people to really get the most out of their purchases.”
Mr Fraser points out that holidaymakers should not look at their holiday home as an “investment” piece, with caravans typically depreciating in value over time.
Despite this, he does note that many homeowners have seen incredible financial successes as a result of renting out their vacation properties.
The demand for staycations throughout 2020 and 2021, coupled with Lovat Parks’ desirable locations, has led to some homeowners reporting earnings as high as £3,000 for a week-long rental.
“Where renting works really well is for people who have some money in the bank earning very little interest and want a second home but don’t necessarily want to think about maintaining it,” he said.
“They buy a holiday lodge from Lovat Parks and can cover the cost of their site fees by renting out for a few weeks in the summer, particularly if they’re retired or semi-retired and don’t need to be there during the peak months of July and August.
“Then the rest of the year they get to enjoy it as they see fit.”
While customers cover the cost of the initial lodge or caravan purchase, after that the only extra expense goes towards site fees.
“People think they could buy a traditional bricks and mortar home, but it’s not brand new. It’s not furnished,” he said.
“They have to think about how are they going to maintain the garden, how they are going to deal with the utility bills, things like that. Whereas, if you buy a holiday home at our park, you have the reception team who will make sure they’ll deal with any kind of issues. You’ve also got a gardening team and help there.”
There is even the option to fully customise a holiday home, selecting the perfect fixtures and fittings to enhance the space.
It is this kind of attention to detail that, in a few cases, has helped boost value for homeowners in the long run.
“The lodges are such good quality now that we’ve started to see some of them going up in value but it’s very parks specific,” said Mr Fraser.
“I would never say to a customer expect that it will.
“It might and we’ve invested a lot in a lot in our parks so we’re hopeful that that will happen but, again, we’d never promise anyone.”
However, even if holiday properties don’t see an increase in value in the same way a house might, Mr Fraser points out the payback is roughly five to six years, after which families have around 45 years to make the most of their home away from home.
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