How many of us dream of owning a holiday home? A bolthole where adults can relax and children can enjoy a bit more space and freedom.
Perhaps the single biggest question that deters many of us from taking the plunge is ‘will I use it enough to justify the expense?’
For many families the problem has been overcome by buying a property within easy reach of where they actually live – sometimes just a few miles from their own home.
“I guess some people are surprised when we tell them about our holiday home” says Carole Flavelle who lives in Truro. “But buying a caravan just ten miles away from our home in Cornwall was one of the best lifestyle decisions we’ve made.”
This particular park is popular with families from all over the country who love the location directly on one of Cornwall’s top surfing beaches. But for the Flavelles it’s just a twenty minute drive from their own home.
“At first we used the caravan as a sort of glorified beach hut,” Carole continued. “We came to enjoy the beach, the surfing and a round of golf. But it rapidly became a real home from home. It’s a great place to relax, meet up with friends and enjoy spending time with our family.”
Two years ago the Flavelles upgraded their holiday home to a Swift Chamonix with a fantastic view of the sea.
Their spacious new caravan has all the benefits of contemporary interior styling with full height patio doors opening onto decking – perfect for barbecues and enjoying the glorious views. Inside, there’s an open plan living area with a well-fitted kitchen, free-standing furniture, two bedrooms and room for extra guests on the sofa bed. Plus of course, a roomy shower and separate loo.
Whilst initially people couldn’t understand why they’d bought the caravan, now the couple’s closest friends have bought one too!
So are the Flavelles unusual in buying a holiday home so close to their own home?
Not according to figures which state that the majority of holiday home owners live less than two hours drive away from their holiday home and some even closer.
Whilst initially this might be surprising, research carried out recently amongst new owners revealed some very sound reasons for buying so close to home.
Holiday home owners use their caravan almost as an extension of their own home. Visiting grandchildren and family can stay on the same static caravan parks with the added attraction of all the facilities and activities on offer.
And for many families it’s a place where the children can enjoy all the benefits of being on holiday for the whole of the long school holidays – whilst remaining close enough to home for a working parent to commute.
For some people it’s all about the flexibility of making a spur of the moment decision to spend a night at the caravan.
“Sometimes we just pop to the park for a night out”, said Alan Webber, who owns a holiday home at Devon Cliffs, twenty minutes drive from his home in Exeter. ‘We keep food and clothes in the caravan so if we decide to stay everything we need is there. Initially we thought of buying in Cornwall, but we were concerned that the drive would mean we’d only use our holiday home occasionally.”
Their purchase proved a popular choice, not just for Alan and wife Barbara but also his extended family of children and grandchildren who regularly visit the park. With nightly entertainment at a choice of three venues, a cafe bar and restaurant plus a swimming pool and spa it has plenty to offer even just for an overnight visit.
So what are the costs of owning a caravan holiday home and how does it compare with a traditional holiday cottage?
With prices from less than 15,000 pounds, no legal fees, stamp duty or surveys it’s a very tempting – and instant – proposition. A cash deposit of 3000 can usually secure a holiday home costing 14,995 pounds.
Top of the range caravan holiday homes in a prime location can cost up to 75,000 – 85,000 pounds. Expect full contemporary styling with heating, double-glazing, ensuite facilities, beautifully fitted kitchens, free-standing furniture and views! Many caravan parks also offer exclusive facilities for owners.
Whilst it’s possible to recoup some or all of the costs through sub-letting, most people buy to improve their lifestyle and not as a financial investment.