Buying Advice: Why it's never been a better time to buy a holiday home
In a year when holidays were put on pause for months, now that the pause button is off, it’s a great time to take the plunge and buy your own leisure time retreat. What can your money buy? Our guide will get you started.
Imagine… Your own home from home, in a favourite location, on a lovely park… Your place for weekends, longer breaks whenever you can grab the time – and lengthy holidays, too. We’re guessing it will be some time before the holiday world, in the global sense, returns to a situation that we once took for granted as being normal. Expressions such as ‘the new normal’ are emerging, although no-one yet knows exactly what that might mean. The certain thing is that holidays in our own countries in the British Isles are easily attainable – and very attractive.
Even more attractive is the prospect of buying your own holiday place. For a long time after the new phrases that entered our vocabulary – ‘social distancing’, ‘two metre rule’ – will have been forgotten, many people will want to perpetuate some degree of isolation and distancing. Perhaps that’s because of a medical condition that makes you cautious. Or, perhaps lockdown – and then partial lockdown – created a new emphasis on family. We’ve all been forced into home-focus this year, and many of us have come to really rather like it. Buying a holiday home enables you to perpetuate those family-value times.
There are a couple of other advantages. You can take your pets – so no more concerns over whether they’re happy in kennels and catteries. And you can take as much luggage as you like – sports equipment, cycles, your barbecue, even your coffee machine! So it seemed an appropriate time for us to look at some options to guide you and set you on the track of buying your dream holiday home.
Bay View Holiday Park, Lancashire. Image: Bay View
Your guide starts here…
We started with the basics: how much do you have to pay to get a holiday home, and what are the running costs?
You can buy a really nice new holiday home for not much over £30,000 or occasionally less. Or you can go for a pre-owned one at substantially less. Or you can splash the cash on a super-luxury lodge at more than £100,000; the choice is yours. There are holiday homes out there for all budgets.
And the running costs? That’s, to an extent, governable, too, to suit your pocket. It depends on what type of park you go for. We’re talking about the amount of money you pay each year to rent the plot on which your holiday home stands. Parks with few facilities, perhaps away from popular tourist areas, charge less for plot rent (also often called a pitch fee). An average pitch fee is around £3,500. A few parks are below this – and some are well over £5,000. That’s for a superb park in a prime location with lots of facilities including, perhaps, a swimming pool, a gym, restaurant and sports facilities, maybe a view of the coast or on the shore of a lake… You take your choice according to the environment and leisure time facilities that suit your needs.
There‘s another cost to bear in mind: the cost of transporting your holiday home to the park, its installation on its plot and connection to mains services. This is a bigger task than you might imagine, as we discovered when we went to Garreg Goch Holiday Park in north Wales earlier this year to follow the siting process of a holiday home from its arrival at the park to installation on its pitch. If you buy a new home that is already on a plot, you may find that the cost of transport and siting is included in the price you pay.
Lodge or holiday home
Put simply, a lodge is larger and more expensive than a holiday home. Luxury, though, can be found in both sectors. The type of leisure unit you choose depends on how much you want to spend to get your dream holiday home. And that depends on how often you plan on using it. The needs and wishes of every family and couple are different, which is why it’s great that there is so much choice around.
Length of time you can keep a holiday home on a park
Some parks allow you to keep your holiday home on the park for 20 years and more; others 15 and a few just 10. After that time, you are obliged to replace it. Knowing the length of time before you buy allows you to budget for the holiday home’s replacement when the time comes. If you are wondering why parks place a restriction on the number of years a holiday home can be kept there, it’s because all park operators want their parks to look pristine and instantly appealing all of the time – and newer units are a key part of that. It does mean that if you are buying a pre-owned home you will need to find out how many years are left on its pitch agreement before it needs to be replaced.
Length of season
Many holiday parks are open all year. Others close for periods of between two weeks and four months over the winter. It’s a key factor in deciding if a park is right for you; if you want to use it at all times of the year, confine your search to parks that don’t close. If you don’t fancy spending the short daylight hours of winter in your holiday home, that might save you some money, because, generally, parks that are open all year charge more for pitch fees than those where you can’t use your home all year.
Above left: A typical lodge, the Omar Kingfisher. Image: Omar. Above right: Silver Ridge Holiday Park, Cumbria. Image: John Chapman
A guidance snapshot of price
There’s a wide variation both in prices of holiday homes and pitch fees, as these examples show…
At Kelling Heath, on the north Norfolk coast, you can expect to pay from £25,885 for a pre-owned holiday home, rising through the size and spec range to more than £100,000 for a luxury lodge. Plot fees start at £5,114 for a standard plot and £5,577 for a premium plot.
At Aria Resorts, which has parks in Cornwall, Devon, Scotland, Yorkshire, Dorset and on the Isle of Wight, pre-owned holiday homes can be bought from £17,995; that’s on the Isle of Wight, and at Newquay Bay in Cornwall, from £19,995.
At Coastfields which has six parks on the Lincolnshire coast, pitch fees are from £2,500 to £3,500 depending on the park. New holiday home prices start at around £30,000.
At Riverside Caravan Park, High Bentham, in the Yorkshire Dales, holiday home prices start at £25,000. The pitch fee is £2,574.
At Stanwix Park Holiday Centre, in Cumbria, close to the Solway Firth, prices of new homes start at just under £30,000.
At Bay View Holiday Park, on the shore of Morecambe Bay in Lancashire, you can find a good choice of holiday homes at between £32,000 and £40,000.
At Ladram Bay Holiday Park, close to Otterton, on the south coast of Devon, you can buy new holiday homes from around £38,700.
At Park Holidays, which has parks in seven counties in the south and east of England, you can buy a pre-owned holiday home from as little as £10,000. New homes start at £34,995. At these parks, pitch fees range from £3,245 to £7,495, depending on the location and the facilities on the parks.
At Parkdean Resorts’ 62 parks, pitch fees vary from £2,707 to £6,941, depending on location. New holiday homes start at £32,995.
At Away Resorts’ five locations there’s a lot of choice of new holiday homes from around £40,000.
Above left: A hideaway holiday home in woodland seclusion at Kelling Heath, Norfolk. Image: Kelling Heath. Above right: Stanwix Park, Cumbria. Image: Stanwix Park.
Our five-step, at-a-glance guide to choosing your holiday home
1 Set your budget
Decide if you want to pay for it out of savings or on finance, or a combination of both.
2 Decide on a region
Within two hours of home is best; that way you’ll be able to visit your holiday home more often than if it’s further away.
3 Choose your park
Research online, draw up a shortlist. Visit more than once. Find out the running costs on the parks that you are considering.
4 Choose your home
You may find your perfect holiday home already sited on a park. Or you may decide to visit a manufacturer’s showground. Willerby’s showground is close to its factory in Hull, for example. Tingdene Homes and Prestige Homeseeker, in Northamptonshire, and Omar and Wessex, in Suffolk also have showgrounds.
5 Pick your pitch
Unless you buy a holiday home that is already sited, you’re likely to have a choice of pitches. Factors to consider include the size of the pitch. Check the direction of sun rise and set in relation to your outside space and the way the sunlight will fall in relation to the home’s windows.
If you’re interested in buying a park or holiday home, or you already have one and want inspiration on how to get the most from your park home, then Park and Holiday Home Inspiration magazine is for you. Better still you can download a copy right now, just click here to get the latest copy of Park and Holiday Home Inspiration magazine.
All pictures in this feature are copyright of those named and may not be reproduced without permission