Be­yond the bucket and spade – lux­ury is in de­mand at sea­side

There’s a gap in the hol­i­day home mar­ket, and ren­o­vat­ing to fill it could reap rich re­wards. Sharon Dale re­ports.

Yorkshire Post - Property - - PROPERTY -

STAYING by the sea­side in style has be­come the hol­i­day of choice for a grow­ing num­ber of wealthy trav­ellers who are dis­cov­er­ing the delights of the York­shire coast.

They are look­ing for lux­ury lets but, ac­cord­ing to one agent, there aren’t enough four-and five-star prop­er­ties to feed this in­creas­ingly hun­gry mar­ket.

Su­san Goss-Cle­ments man­ages Al­bany House, in Whitby, and her own hol­i­day home, in Sand­send, and has just es­tab­lished a new hol­i­day let­tings com­pany, York­shire Coastal Cot­tages, on the back of the de­mand for qual­ity.

She says: “I could have let those places 10 times over and I even have book­ings for 2013. It made me re­alise there is a grow­ing mar­ket for four-and five-star lets. There are many af­flu­ent, dis­cern­ing peo­ple that want to stay in top-class ac­com­mo­da­tion, and there is de­mand from Jan­uary to De­cem­ber.”

Visit Eng­land say that 60 per cent of the prop­er­ties it rates are four-star and only 10 per cent are five-star.

“The best-rated prop­er­ties all get booked very quickly and are al­ways the most pop­u­lar,” says spokes­woman Sarah Long. “There is cer­tainly room for growth in the lux­ury sec­tor.”

This sup­ply-and-de­mand sit­u­a­tion has thrown up op­por­tu­ni­ties for ex­ist­ing hol­i­day home own­ers and those look­ing to in­vest.

“There are many prop­er­ties on the coast that could be trans­formed to be­come highly de­sir­able hol­i­day homes com­mand­ing high rental val­ues,” says Su­san, who also ad­vises own­ers how to up their star rat­ings and of­fers a makeover ser­vice.

She has just over­seen the ren­o­va­tion of East Row Lodge, a ground-floor apart­ment on the seafront at Sand­send, near Whitby. It once let for £350 a week but now com­mands be­tween £800 and £900.

“It had very lit­tle kerb ap­peal and al­though it had been run as a hol­i­day let for sev­eral years, was in need of ren­o­va­tion and a re­think of the lay­out. The build­ing dates back over a cen­tury but ad­di­tions over the years had not been kind. We wanted to en­hance the front el­e­va­tion, mak­ing it more in keep­ing with the orig­i­nal parts of the build­ing,” says Su­san, an award-win­ning mar­ket­ing ex­pert.

”The largest room with the best sea views was a bed­room, so this was changed to be­come the sitting room, with the old gas fire ripped out and a wood-burn­ing stove in­stalled, which is ideal for the in­creas­ingly pop­u­lar win­ter breaks.

“The orig­i­nal sitting room and din­ing room were di­vided to form two new bed­rooms, and French win­dows in­stalled that lead to the new decked ter­race. The gal­ley kitchen be­came a lux­ury walk-in shower room, and what was orig­i­nally a bed­room be­came a new kitchen with din­ing area.”

An an­nexe in the gar­den was re­mod­elled to be­come a dou­ble bed­room and shower room.

The prop­erty is dec­o­rated to five-star stan­dard, which Visit Eng­land say is the best of ev­ery­thing from top-class beds and high thread count bed­ding to qual­ity ap­pli­ances.

Equally im­por­tant when ap­peal­ing to the top end of the mar­ket is lo­ca­tion. A sea view is the ultimate must-have.

Ser­vice also has to be im­pec­ca­ble and change-overs, clean­ing and main­te­nance have to be care­fully man­aged.

Su­san, whose com­pany of­fers a fully-man­aged ser­vice from mar­ket­ing to book­ings and main­te­nance, says: “ Peo­ple ex­pect the best. We even have a 24/7 guest line for han­dling hol­i­day­mak­ers’ queries or emer­gen­cies dur­ing their stay.

“High stan­dards are cru­cial as are per­sonal touches like wel­come packs.”

For those who want to in­vest in a coastal hol­i­day let, the cap­i­tal ap­pre­ci­a­tion in the best ar­eas is good, ac­cord­ing to Nick Stephens, of Whitby-based Richard­son and Smith, who says: “The prop­erty mar­ket on the coast tends to be more ro­bust than it is in­land. Coastal prop­er­ties of­fer pur­chasers con­sid­er­able flex­i­bil­ity with more vari­a­tion in their uses as res­i­dences, hol­i­day lets or for short hold ten­an­cies.

“In­creas­ingly, we are see­ing in­vestors com­ing back to the mar­ket.”

Su­san adds: “The in­vest­ment po­ten­tial the York­shire coast now of­fers is ex­cep­tional.

“It is ap­peal­ing to a new breed of hol­i­day­maker. In Whitby, you can have a won­der­ful buck­e­tand-spade hol­i­day but you can also sit and sip cham­pagne at places like the Moon and Six­pence.

“These peo­ple want to stay some­where spe­cial and they are will­ing to pay for it. ”

REN­O­VATE TO AC­CU­MU­LATE:

Bridling­ton, pic­tured, along with other York­shire coast hotspots, is be­com­ing pop­u­lar with wealthy hol­i­day­mak­ers who want lux­ury lets. Left to right: East Row Lodge, Sand­send, be­fore its makeover and af­ter. It now com­mands al­most three times the weekly rent thanks to the ren­o­va­tion.

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