Holiday Homes and Holiday Letting Demand in 2020 and Beyond

There has been a lot in the press recently about the increase in demand for UK self catering holidays. With the relaxing of borders in Europe slowly taking place thing should be looking up for foreign holidays but with 2 week quarantine still on the cards for UK citizens visiting the EU this makes it an impossible destination for most. From talking to our buyers, letting agents and colleagues the main reason that the vast majority of holidaymakers are not considering foreign travel is the worry of a flight or ferry passage and the fear that they will put themselves and their family at risk of catching Coronavirus being in close proximity to 100’s of people. (Please click on images for property details)

From talking to the holiday letting agents in Devon and Cornwall the enquiries for self catering holidays has gone through the roof. With the expected relaxing of lockdown on the holiday sector on 4th July people are scrambling to reserve their family holidays and available properties are hard to come by. There is still some reticence of holiday makers that this date will not see the lockdown lifted and mostly the letting agents are taking fully refundable deposits to offer clients peace of mind.

Looking forward to next year, bookings are also at a high level and prices for a week in July and August are seeing increases of around 10%. Many travel experts are predicting that some foreign holiday destinations will not be back to normal for some years to come and airlines are predicting the number of flights on offer in 2019 will not be seen again until at least 2023.  Many people are already booking their holidays in the UK for 2021 to make sure they have something in the diary for next summer. With many holiday makers having to cancel their Easter holidays this year they have already moved their booking to next year meaning that many places are fully booked next Easter, which is unprecedented for this time of year.

The holiday letting companies are also seeing increased interest in bookings outside the normal season with September and October being very popular this year. If you don’t have to take your break during school holidays many people are seeing these months as safer with less people on the beaches and tourist attractions. Further into 2021 many holiday letting companies have made the unusual decision, due to high level of enquiries, to open up their booking diaries for next year and are seeing good demand.

Holiday letting agency Beach Retreats have already seen huge demand.  Managing Director Andy Easton said: “As we approach the potential easing of the lockdown, we have seen an unprecedented levels of new reservations, for this summer, where we are already 90% full for July and August, the autumn and for next year.  In fact we opened up 2021 bookings back in April and already have hundreds of reservations confirmed, indicating that the long term trend for self-catering in the South West is positive.

Of course holidays will change as visitors practice social distancing, so in the meantime we’re taking all the necessary steps towards becoming COVID-19 Secure in time for July and providing safe spaces for visitors and support for them when visiting the region.

Demand for Buying Holiday Homes

All this leads to an increase in demand for self catering holidays and a fixed supply so we predict that the weekly letting rate for these types of property will increase by at least 10% especially in Devon and Cornwall where demand is already high. The next few years are going to see letting incomes increase for second home owners that let their properties. In the past few weeks we have seen an increase in demand from second home buyers and have agreed sales ranging from a 4 bed cutting edge coastal home in St Agnes Cornwall, a 3 bedroom period barn conversion in the South Hams, Devon countryside to a one bedroom coastal apartment in Watergate Bay. Buyers demands have slightly changed as they are not just looking at rental returns to  make their decisions but are securing a safe place to holiday with their family and friends.

We have also seen a change in what buyers are looking for with demand increasing for houses rather than apartments. One of our buyers we are negotiating with on a £895,000 house in South Cornwall pulled out of an  apartment she was buying because she felt uncomfortable entering the communal areas and using the lift with the other owners. Our buyers are predicting that holiday makers are going to be looking to stay in a property that they can feel safe in and can almost “self isolate” (was that even a word last year?) with their family.

What Holiday Guests are looking for

It is very simple, they want to feel safe and be able to relax. After being cooped up in their own homes for months they are looking for a clean house with outside space. One of the questions the letting agents are  getting before they take a booking is “how well is the property cleaned” after the last guest has left.  This is where the home owners, cleaners and management companies come in. The good cleaners already have a system in place which involves their changeover staff wearing PPE and asking the holiday makers to leave early on departure day and the house left empty for a while with all the windows open where safe to do so before they go in. There are many suggestions for cleaners out there but there is no actual specific Government guidelines at the time of writing. Some of these include removing from the property all board games, soft furnishings (cushions etc), ornaments……….

Nicki the MD at Bespoke Devon a holiday let management business in the South Hams, Devon commented “The face of holiday home changeovers is changing.  We are putting together a whole new set of protocols to reassure our staff, the owners and of course the guests.   The list is long but it is important that we do our level best to ensure that properties are as sterilised as possible and guests are re-assured.   Guests will also be asked to play their part in helping to keep potential pinch points to the minimum and, for instance, will be asked on day of check out to strip beds and put sheets and towels in the bags provided.

A lot of research has been done to find the right solutions and investments in new products and equipment have been made. 

The new buzz words are ‘touch point cleaning’, ‘bio security’ and ‘bio-mister foggers’

Prices of Holiday Homes

With supply of properties that will attract holiday home buyers looking to be low as the owners decide to keep their properties to take advantage of the increased income over the rest of this year and try to replace lost income for Easter we feel the prices will stay strong. However if you are thinking of selling your holiday home, now, may be the right time, with good forward bookings to show potential buyers. Many of the buyers out there are sitting on cash and are looking for a safe place to put it that they can secure a return and also a safe holiday for their families.

If you are thinking of buying or selling your holiday home please contact the team. With the MD of Chartsedge, Miles, having owned a holiday home in Watergate Bay, his colleague Caroline having had one in St Ives and Nicki, Miles wife and fellow Director,  owning and running a holiday let management business called Bespoke Devon we are in an unrivalled position to give practical advice.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Miles Kevin MRICS    01803 505115