Booming leisure property market driven by staycation demand

Individuals, investors and business buyers are all keen to capitalize on the recent surge in demand for holiday accommodation and leisure activities in the UK.

Recreational goods include anything that provides accommodation such as campsites, mobile homes, lodges and gîtes, as well as activities such as golf, horse riding and skeet shooting.

They tend to be most common and in high demand in the South and South West of England, Norfolk, the Yorkshire Dales and North Wales.

See also: Land values ​​rise rapidly to highest level since 2016

Some of the national parks, such as the Peak District, are also in demand, but the supply is lower.

Types of buyers

Stephen Richards, rural leisure manager at Carter Jonas, said leisure properties are currently selling very quickly because demand is so high.

“Holidays exploded when no one was allowed to go overseas, which led to a few exceptional years,” he said.

“This means that profits are also increasing and leisure operators are looking to enrich their portfolios. The staycation market is currently the most active I know. »

There are currently three main types of buyers, Mr. Richards said:

  • The first is a couple or team, between the ages of 45 and 55, who are looking to move to a location that will bring about a lifestyle change. They can work from home and most of them are looking for a semi-retirement project.
  • The second is for trusts, charities, or people looking to invest.
  • The third is an enterprise operator who is already in the industry – they may, for example, run 10 hotels in London and are looking to add to their portfolio with an independent business elsewhere in the country.

“Now is a really good time to sell and there’s really no downside for sellers,” Mr Richards said.

“From a buyer’s perspective, stays are very popular and will continue for at least two years.

“However, a lack of supply means the market moves very quickly and it’s easy to miss out on the right property.”

Prepare properly

The land market as a whole remains extremely tight, with very few open market entries so far this year, said Sophie Clotworthy, associate farm and rural officer at Woolley & Wallis.

Values ​​for all land and timber continue to remain strong, with very little sign of easing demand.

Preparation continues to be key to a successful sale and a seller should never underestimate the importance of agreeing before launching their property, she said.

“Notifying your attorney at an early stage is crucial to give them time to prepare the legal documentation required by a buyer’s attorney,” Ms. Clotworthy said.

“Preparing documentation will ensure that when a buyer is found, the sale can proceed quickly and smoothly through to exchange and completion. Delays can often cost sales dearly.


In Scotland, Galbraith partner Duncan Barrie said some small farm units and bare land of all types are sought after for amenity and other agricultural tourism purposes.

Some larger farms and estates are also great for use as wellness retreats, with access to rural space for better mental health being more at the forefront of people’s minds since the Covid-19 lockdowns.

As with the broader agricultural and residential markets, there is a shortage of properties available at the moment, so values ​​are being held up, Barrie said.

A buyer’s need for a family home is now just one of the criteria – increasingly, a property’s ability to generate additional income outside of normal farming operations is high on the list. control.

“The potential future use of buildings and land for non-agricultural purposes can, if marketed and designed correctly, be very lucrative for buyers or investors,” he said.

“Securing finance can be a stumbling block for some buyers, as properties with land and buildings often do not meet the traditional requirements of high street lenders.”

Some of the more marginal farms and estates will also attract parties interested in afforestation, which helps boost competition for sellers, but means buyers risk going over budget by paying higher timber prices to secure a property. for leisure purposes.

What’s on the market?

Income potential

Valley view © Carter Jonas

Near Bideford, North Devon, Carter Jonas is selling Valley View Lakes and Lodges for a list price of £795,000.

The vacation enterprise is located on nine acres and has four lodges overlooking lakes, as well as woods.

scottish farm

Gart Farm

Gart Farm © Galbraith

Galbraith has launched 113-acre Gart Farm near Callender, Perthshire, for bids in excess of £950,000.

The holding comprises four dwellings, a bothy, a range of farm buildings, productive pasture, amenity woodland, a loch and fishing rights.