UK holiday lets soar in demand from travellers and investors

UK: UK holiday homeowners are seeing a significant rise in demand from travellers and investors as nationwide lockdowns start to ease.

According to holiday rentals search engine Holidu, bookings in the UK are up 156 per cent on the previous year, and investors are seeking to capitalise.

Inquiries on holiday homes have surged by up to 300 per cent in various hotspots, as staycations are on the rise. Rural areas in particular are seeing significant boosts as they have gotten the most interest from holidaymakers.

East Devon and St. Ives in Cornwall have seen 263 and 262 per cent rises in bookings respectively, while South Lakeland has seen a 258 per cent increase. Analysts expect these are not limited to bookings, but occupancies as well, with a consistent 10 per cent rise, implying larger profit margins.

For investors, the market makes a strong alternative to the potential buy-to-let market, which has struggled as a result of the pandemic. Holiday home properties also have the potential to offer higher yields, lower taxes, and may tap into the growing trend of staycations.

Simon Foster of Savills told The Telegraph: “There was a growing trend for domestic tourism anyway before coronavirus – partly because of Brexit, and partly because of people’s environmental concerns about flying. This is more than a passing fad.”

Certain lenders who had previously offered short-term let mortgages, such as Swansea Building Society and the Furness Building Society, initially withdrew from the market after the pandemic. Though many lenders have returned, the requirements and prior savings amounts have become stricter.

Furthermore, many urban areas have not seen such a resurgence. London and Edinburgh, the UK’s two most-booked city break destinations, have seen landlords shift properties to traditional lets as the market contracts.

Short-term rental operators, mostly those in rural, non-urban locations, are optimistic about future bookings as lockdown loosens. Further adding to the optimism is the potential elimination of travel quarantines for most of Europe, potentially re-building the UK’s international travel.