House prices are rising, inflation is up, and then there’s Brexit. Chartered Surveyor at Bruton Knowles, Sam Spencer, discusses how these could be reasons an increasing amount of people are deciding to not only spend a holiday in, but also live in a caravan as their permanent home.
The caravan industry has boomed over recent years, and it appears landowners and property developers are choosing to invest in this hugely popular hobby and way of life.
According to the National Caravan Council, the industry contributes more than £6 billion to the UK economy every year. In 2016 there was an 11.4% increase in the registration of new motorhomes and the sale and dispatch of new leisure vehicles, when compared to the previous year.
The total sales of touring caravans, caravan holiday homes and motorhomes also rose by ten percent over the same period. Motorhomes saw the highest increase in popularity, with sales sharply rising by nearly 20% in just 12 months.
We act on behalf of holiday park operators looking to expand their portfolios, and rural clients who are seeking diversification, one way being development of a holiday park on their land. This advice includes working with organisations, such as the Environment Agency, to ensure the proposed site is fit for purpose, and advising on matters such as finance and tax.
Our experts also liaise with local authorities to assess the potential development opportunities in terms of access and provision of facilities, and assist with the planning application process.
Informing landowner clients about the potential benefits of developing a caravan site, particularly in areas of high tourism, such as Devon, Mid-Wales, National Parks and coastal resorts, is a service we provide to ensure clients gain the maximum return from their investment. Offering advice to land and park owners about how many pitches to include on a potential site, or offering alternatives, such as permanent lodges is an additional element of expertise offered by Bruton Knowles.
We believe the market will continue to grow and is unlikely to be saturated. The relatively low volumes of new housing development and ageing population mean demand for alternative accommodation will always be high.
Park home estates are becoming increasingly popular as a solution for people requiring smaller sustainable new homes at a sensible price. Uncertainty around pensions and the rise in retirement age are also factors encouraging people to move into a caravan or park home as their permanent residence.