Finally, lockdown as started to ease (just slightly), and the sun has poked its head out (temporarily). Unlike the headlines of last year, the UK is receiving praise thanks to its successful vaccine rollout and it seems, for once, we are on a positive trajectory. As we head into the Easter weekend there is definitely a sense of optimism in the air for the first time in months.
Over the last year we have talked about a number of property related topics and some in relation to what impact the pandemic has had on the market. I think what is really interesting, as mentioned last week, is that we have lost any kind of predictability when it comes to the property market and in truth, no one really knows what is round the corner.
One side of property investment we haven’t spoken about before is short-term holiday lets. We know that people who invested in property, purely for the purposes of using it to let on a short-term basis in the self-catering holiday sector, have experienced some extreme peaks and troughs over the last year.
From being completely shut down one minute, to being inundated with enquiries the next, only the lucky few who managed to make significant gains in summer 2020 have been able to recoup some of their losses. Others have turned to the private rented sector for longer-term security. Although that’s another topic altogether.
One positive for owners that currently pay business rates on their holiday let, is that there is a business rates relief scheme available, which offers a 12-month payment holiday for 2020/2021 for all retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England.
But today is 1st April, and here we are again. The beginning of the peak season for short-term holiday-lets and unable to open until May. By that time we should have a clearer idea whether international travel will or won’t be permitted this summer, so could that change everything? Whilst it could sway some people to ditch the staycation and jet off to sunnier climes, I think most holiday-let owners can be confident that there will be enough demand this summer not to worry. Prices on sites like Airbnb have reached astronomical levels over the last few months, as Brits scramble to secure something for the summer holidays.
But let’s fast-forward one maybe even two years. After being advised to stay at home and remain in sunny old Blighty, are the masses going to be itching to get away and turn their backs on the Great British holiday? Or will there be a renewed love for our home country, it’s beautiful seaside villages, countryside and National Parks?
I think, much like the residential sales market, where buyer criteria has shifted from, for instance, city bolthole to country escape, the short-term rental market will do much the same. People’s priorities and desires have changed and a getaway for the weekend to the coast will be even more appealing. I think since people will still be wary for some time to come about spending time in crowded cities, those are the property owners that may question the sustainability of their investment choice.
However, the key is being creative, and adapting to the new world in order to appeal to a new market. For example, a short-term let in a city may appeal to someone who has now moved out of the city because they no-longer need to be there 5 days a week but still needs to occasionally frequent for meetings etc. Before you may have marketed nearby tourist hot-spots, restaurants and bars, but now, perhaps highlighting fast wi-fi, close proximity to travel routes and creating a nice workspace could help appeal to a different market.
Or perhaps you have decided that the short-let market is no longer for you and you are looking for a quick sale? WeBuyProperty can offer you a no obligation valuation and are able to transact within a matter of weeks.
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