As a property buying agent will confirm, for many people, purchasing a holiday home continues to be a major aspiration.
In fact, second home ownership in the UK has boomed, with an incredible percentage of people now owning a property in addition to their principal place of residence. These figures do, of course, include landlords buying properties to let but a substantial proportion of them are also second homes for private use.
There are though considerations that should be taken into account if you are moving towards purchasing a holiday home yourself.
The attractions of purchasing a holiday home
The obvious plus points of owning a holiday home perhaps do not need to be laboured at any length here.
They’re familiar to most of us and include things such as:
- having a weekend bolt-hole where you can escape from the pressures of work and city life;
- no longer being reliant upon unpredictable hotel or rental property bookings;
- being able to enjoy your property for leisure and recreational purposes whilst at the same time, hoping it increases in value and proves to be a lucrative longer-term investment.
All of these things are, for most, achievable.
There are though, a number of balancing issues that a property buying agent will advise you to recognise.
Holiday home prices
Whatever the markets may do in overall statistical terms within the next few years, it is widely accepted that the best holiday properties in the most sought-after locations are likely to be in ongoing high demand.
This might understandably inhibit a buyer’s ability to drive particularly hard and financially attractive deals on their purchases. There may be, as always, some room for negotiation but price realism may be required where many potential purchasers are concerned.
Some potential buyers wish to keep their holiday home exclusively for their own recreational use. By contrast, many others wish to have first call on the use of their properties but also intend to let them out at times for the purposes of income generation.
There are a number of issues falling out of both types of property use:
- keeping your holiday home for your own exclusive use during a few weeks each year may be fine but homes left unoccupied for longer periods of time can deteriorate. You may need to pay for some form of property maintenance services when you are not in residence;
- if your holiday home is left unoccupied for longer periods, it may complicate your property insurance position. You may require unoccupied property insurance in order to protect your interests;
- some parts of the UK now have restrictive second home ownership laws. That may make it very difficult for second holiday properties to be left unoccupied for much of the year;
- if you decide to let your property to generate income when you are not using it, remember that its prime income generation times may also be those where you would personally wish to use it for your own recreation;
- the moment you derive any sort of rental income from your property, even if it is only for a very few weeks each year during the holiday season, you have become a landlord. This opens up a number of taxation issues in terms of your income but perhaps more complex, also an entirely new range of legal responsibilities and obligations you will face as someone letting a property out.
There are advantages and disadvantages to both types of use of a holiday home. It might be prudent to take expert advice, including that of a property finder or property buying agent, before making your final decision.
Central government taxation
The position here is complex and subject to considerable recent and current debate in political circles.
Many of the one-time tax advantages in second home ownership have been eroded. There are also related issues to be understood, such as the second property stamp duty taxation.
At the time of writing however, there remains some attractive tax benefits to purchasing a holiday home as an investment compared to traditional property investments. These tax advantages are subject to a strict criteria though of a property being used for commercial letting purposes.
It is important to always seek tailored professional advice from a qualified tax adviser on this topic and sensible to watch developments in this area closely when considering purchasing a holiday home.
Using your asset and location
Before purchasing a holiday home, it is extremely important that you rationally assess your realistic ability to get the most out of it.
That’s important because it’s not unknown for a holiday home impulse purchasing situation, where the buyer owns a stunning property in a breath-taking location but due to their own busy professional lives, find they are rarely able to get there and take advantage of it.
It’s important that, if your interests are more oriented towards recreation than income generation, you are certain that your property’s location is one that will mean you can reach it easily.
More remote properties in the UK may offer incredible locations and an extremely cost-effective price but that is often because they are very difficult to get to. That might make them impractical for quick weekend escapes.
Take advice on the location and social position
Property locations that can appear to be a hive of activity with a bustling social life from June through to September, can be near deserted and extremely quiet for much of the rest of the year. That is attributable to the effect of peak season tourism.
If you’d like to think that you’re part of a thriving local community when you are using your holiday home and at any time of the year, then you should research this subject carefully and take the advice of qualified experts.
Look closely at the investment potential
If you are buying largely with the heart and for reasons such as retirement planning, then this may not seem to be a particularly prime consideration.
However, try not to get lost in the romance and instead obtain level-headed advice on property price trends plus forecasts for the area.
If one part of you is focusing on potential price growth and return on investment over time, the good news is that prestige holiday properties in prime locations can offer exciting possibilities. However, some idyllic second homes might be ideal for holidays but if they’re in more isolated environments, they might not offer quite the same investment potential.
Keep your head and your heart in balance when selecting properties.
Garrington have been providing a property finder and property buying agent service for many years, which includes holiday homes.
Our expertise in assisting people to find that ideal holiday home is unrivalled and we are able to offer extensive options in most parts of the UK.