Stat­ics on move as hol­i­day home fetches £550,000

A record price has been paid for a hol­i­day home in North Wales. Sharon Dale re­ports on why the static is be­com­ing a de­sir­able way of tak­ing a break for many Bri­tons.

Yorkshire Post - Property - - PROPERTY -

STATIC car­a­vans used to be con­sid­ered a sec­ond-best sort of sec­ond home re­served for those who couldn’t af­ford a choco­late­box cot­tage or a villa in Spain.

But no longer and to prove it a lux­ury, three-bed­room static at The War­ren in Aber­soch, North Wales, has just been sold for £550,000.

Ac­cord­ing to the Na­tional Car­a­van Coun­cil, the half a mil­lion pound pad shows just how far parks have pro­gressed since the days of stand pipes and shower blocks.

The revo­lu­tion started in the early 1990’s when they be­gan to up­grade their fa­cil­i­ties and man­u­fac­tur­ers in­tro­duced more lux­u­ri­ous car­a­vans with all mod cons. Mean­while, we longed for a quick and easy get­away as life got more stress­ful and we tired of road and air­port de­lays.

The re­sult is 330,000 pri­vately owned hol­i­day car­a­vans in use at more than 3,000 sites across Bri­tain.

Na­tional Car­a­van Coun­cil deputy di­rec­tor gen­eral Ali­cia Dunne says: “First lots of ven­ture cap­i­tal went into these parks. Then came stay­ca­tion­ing, but savvy park own­ers re­alised that if this was to be sus­tain­able longer term, our in­dus­try had to com­pete with the best that Europe – or in­deed the world – had to of­fer. And that meant in­vest­ing.

“Many parks have been re­fur­bished and ex­panded to in­clude top-flight leisure fa­cil­i­ties such as en­ter­tain­ment com­plexes, in­door and out­door swim­ming pools and sports courts.”

Costs for static car­a­vans vary from about £10,000 for a sec­ond-hand home and pitch, to £80,000 for a new model. Most peo­ple buy with sav­ings or by re­mort­gag­ing their home, though big­ger com­pa­nies, like Haven, of­fer fi­nance deals.

“The av­er­age hol­i­day cot­tage now costs about £250,000, so they rep­re­sent a very affordable way of buy­ing a sec­ond home in a lovely lo­ca­tion,” says Ali­cia.

“The old view of sitting in a car­a­van lis­ten­ing to the rain, with noth­ing to do ex­cept visit the an­cient shower-block, is to­tally out­dated.

“Parks have changed. They have good fa­cil­i­ties, good se­cu­rity and a lot of them are open 10 and 11 months of the year now, so you can get good use for your money. A num­ber also will let out your car­a­van for you, pro­vid­ing a good in­come.”

The cru­cial dif­fer­ence be­tween bricks and mor­tar and metal is that while car­a­vans are more affordable, they de­pre­ci­ate in value as they get older and the lease on their pitch gets shorter. You aren’t of­ten al­lowed to use them as a main res­i­dence ei­ther.

Most hol­i­day parks tend to sell car­a­vans and pitches as a pack­age and the pitch usu­ally has a short lease be­tween 10 and 25 years. A mi­nor­ity of­fer a 99 year lease.

You are usu­ally re­quired to up­grade your car­a­van af­ter 15 years and there are an­nual site fees to pay, which range from about £1,000 to £4,000 a year.

The ben­e­fits, apart from the lower cost of the prop­erty, is that there are no stamp duty or legal fees to pay, lit­tle main­te­nance, a ready made com­mu­nity and added se­cu­rity. Lo­ca­tions are usu­ally good and there is a lot of choice. Those who want a quiet get­away go for small parks with no sub let­ting, while oth­ers pre­fer big­ger and live­lier places.

Builder Graham Wil­son, of Thirsk, bought a car­a­van with his part­ner at Haven’s Hag­ger­ston Cas­tle site, set on a for­mer coun­try es­tate on the Northum­ber­land coast.

It has an en­ter­tain­ment com­plex, shops and pools and own­ers can sub-let their home to hol­i­day mak­ers through Haven.

Graham says: “It’s only two hours from Thirsk, so we come up for week­ends and hol­i­days. We love it here and we en­joy the com­pany and the so­cial­is­ing. In fact, we have more friends here than we have at home.”

Graham is a mem­ber of Own­ers Ex­clu­sive, which Haven op­er­ates for own­ers at their sites. The club has its own meet­ing room, gym, so­cial events and spe­cial of­fers.

Rae Huntly, Own­ers Ex­clu­sive man­ager at Hag­ger­ston, says: “Our own­ers vary from young­sters to pen­sion­ers and an in­creas­ing num­ber of busi­ness peo­ple and we have about 200 events for them a sea­son. “They help cre­ate a sense of com­mu­nity, so much so that a group of us have just been on hol­i­day to Ger­many to­gether.”

Sec­ond-hand car­a­vans at Hag­ger­ston range from £12,000 for a six-year old model and from £25,000 to £85,000 for a new one, but there is no age limit for the vans.

At fam­ily run Swale View car­a­van park near Rich­mond, the fa­cil­i­ties ex­tend to a chil­dren’s play area, but the nat­u­ral beauty and river­side lo­ca­tion are the main at­trac­tions at this stun­ning site.

Owner Andy Carter says: “There have been stat­ics here since the war and my fa­ther bought the site in the 1960s, but things have changed quite a bit since then. We’ve up­graded and im­proved the fa­cil­i­ties and we now have lodges too.”

A new car­a­van on the site costs from £15,000 and site fees are £2,200 a year.

“Our own­ers live up to an hour and half away and they come from north, south, east and west of the site. They come to get­away and re­lax.”

Be­fore you buy, the Na­tional Car­a­van Coun­cil ad­vises that you do your home­work care­fully.

Ali­cia Dunne says: “The first thing you should do is check that the park owner is a mem­ber of one of the trade as­so­ci­a­tions, ei­ther the Na­tional Car­a­van Coun­cil or the Bri­tish Hol­i­day and Home Parks As­so­ci­a­tion.

“On the le­gal­i­ties front, the ma­jor points to check are how long you can keep the car­a­van on the park and how many months a year the park is open. Then you can de­cide whether it is worth­while buy­ing.”

Na­tional Car­a­van Coun­cil Tel: 01252 318251, www. hol­i­day­car­a­van­info.co.uk

For more in­for­ma­tion about Haven’s 34 UK hol­i­day parks and own­ing your own hol­i­day home, call 0871 230 1299, www.haven­hol­i­day­homes. co.uk

Swale View Car­a­van Park tel: 01748 823106 or visit www. swale­view­park.co.uk

Thirsk builder Graham Wil­son bought at Hag­ger­ston Cas­tle, top, in Northum­ber­land, just off the A1 and close to the coast. Swale View Park, bot­tom, is a favourite with hol­i­day home buy­ers from York­shire.

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