Earlier today the UK government announced that France was the next country to be added to the quarantine list in the event of growing cases of Covid-19. While not totally unexpected given the UK government was discussing the issue last week, this has prompted renewed speculation on the prospects for UK holiday homes and those investing overseas.
Demand for UK holiday homes is growing
Even Boris Johnson has announced plans for his own UK staycation as the government continues to restrict overseas travel. While there are still areas of the UK under significant lockdown restrictions, in general there has been a lifting of many lockdown restrictions. This has prompted numerous families to look at holidays in the UK in the short to medium-term. It therefore stands to reason that property investors looking for the next “hot trend” will have their eyes fixed on UK holiday homes.
The UK property market in general has performed much better than even the most optimistic experts had predicted. It is only when the short-term fog begins to lift that we will see the real impact of UK-based holidays and demand for holiday homes. However, while this market has been overlooked for many years, in favour of Spain, Portugal, France, etc, maybe the UK holiday market may be rising like a Phoenix from the ashes?
What will happen to demand for overseas holiday homes?
The reality is that nobody knows when the coronavirus will disappear or at least be more under control. The Russian government has announced the discovery of a vaccine but there are already safety concerns amongst independent observers. While billions of pounds of money are being poured into finding a vaccine it is highly unlikely it will be readily available in 2020 never mind 2021. So, as the worldwide financial woes begin to bite investors and consumers will we see a number of overseas holiday homes being put up for sale?
Initially many property investors saw the coronavirus look as short-term issue which could present short-term opportunities. However, as the weeks and months have progressed, the short to medium-term implications of new worldwide lockdowns have started to hit home with investors. Aside from the fact that those with holiday homes will experience significant restrictions for the foreseeable future, the opportunity to rent out these properties has all but evaporated. In what many see as a sign of the times, the French government is set to quarantine all UK visitors in a tit-for-tat response to the UK government’s move (which was based upon readily available data).
Is it time to look towards UK holiday property?
Even though there has been talk of border restrictions between England and Scotland, so far nothing has materialised. If restrictions were to materialise they would only be short-term and have little impact on medium-term holiday numbers. As a consequence there are expectations that holiday homes in England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales will come under renewed focus and with limited supply, due to planning application restrictions, prices could be squeezed higher.
There are already signs of a sea-change amongst UK holidaymakers as a consequence of the coronavirus. More families are looking towards UK holidays, so-called staycations, which also increases demand for UK holiday homes. This is a trend which began some time ago, in light of the ever-growing restrictions on buy-to-let investment, and any increase in demand could add serious upwards pressure on prices. One to watch!