CREDIT CRUNCH RENT RELIEF by Mike Walsh

Rent the Credit Crunch to Someone Else

The credit crunch and near parity of the sterling-euro currencies is squeezing ex-pats in a worrying vice-like grip. Is there any relief on the horizon? Many think so and are already surfing a boom in holiday home lets.

Although not exactly a phenomena; holiday lettings in the UK have been popular for nearly a century, self-catering lettings abroad have increased by an impressive 22% over the past five years. Demand is set to accelerate as fashion hitches a ride on tighter budgets brought about by the credit crunch.

The DIY let is perceived as the holiday that ticks more boxes. Hotels, including those catering for package holidays, cannot compete with the holiday home challengers. Some hotels are fighting back by building self-catering chalets in their grounds.

Ross Elder, managing director of brand leader holidaylettings.co.uk says; “Staying in a private holiday home is a phenomena enhanced by greater availability following the boom in holiday home investment. However, the superiority of experience over a hotel or serviced apartment is undeniable.”

GOING NATIVE

The reasons behind the popularity of DIY holiday home lettings was revealed in a recent on-line poll. An impressive 65% value the extra space and freedom; individual bedrooms, private garden and communal pool, easier parking, and lack of chambermaid interruptions. A further 55% said it gave an opportunity to ’go native’; to get to know an area.

Holiday home lets offer a bigger choice of locations than are offered by hotels, which tend to be located in noisy environments. Holiday lets offer excellent value for money for those on tight budgets. Two or three cost sharing couples can take a break in a villa that would normally be beyond their means. Budget airline travel and low cost car rentals have further boosted the holiday genre’s popularity.

55,000 VISITS DAILY

The weakness of the ex-pat community is its division. The average owner lacks the marketing skills and budget for setting their stall out. Many take advantage of professional on-line letting agencies so benefit from their marketing for a nominal annual fee.

Holidaylettings.co.uk attract an impressive 55,000 visits each day. With 25,000 properties on offer it isn’t rocket science to work out the potential. To help meet growing demand the company offer 15 months exposure for the price of 12 for those who key in promotional code 45325.

COULD YOU BENEFIT FROM THE BOOM?

You need to register your intentions with your local authority but this is a minor inconvenience when set against returns. Your property is your most valuable asset. It makes economic sense to use it.

If your present home is larger than your needs could you downsize to a more modest rented property whilst letting your larger home?

Many larger villas are perfectly suited for providing complementary accommodation. A competent builder can easily create an independently accessible annexe or floor to your home? Partitions make better use of available space and create a little privacy too. Perhaps while the credit crunch lasts you could share with friends and rent your property?

UK HOLIDAYMAKERS LOVE IT

Holiday home lettings in Calpe demand as much as £1,000 for a high season week with typically a 6-bed apartment demanding £645. The same in Gran Alicant is not far behind, with two-bed apartments in Orihuela Costa renting out at £300 a week.

Poetic licence is often used when the number of beds are advertised. A double bed can be no more than a bed divan in a living room so a two-bed apartment becomes a 6-bed let.

It is easy to see how cost effective such an arrangement can be for cash-strapped holidaymakers. A 2-bed apartment with a bed divan is just perfect for two couples and their same gender children for instance. Imagine, a beautiful apartment for just £150 a week each plus flights.

The Costa del Sol attracts rentals as much as one-third to 50% higher than do the other regions. Can you benefit from the credit crunch? The secret is, getting clients. Use an agency.

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