After a challenging start to the year, it is encouraging to report how much positivity there is from dealers and parks that the season ahead will be successful. Missing a second Easter period will be damaging, however, feedback the Glass’s editorial team has received regarding enquiries, bookings and sales are positive.
Bookings for a ‘Staycation’ holiday are very strong and are set to be throughout the year. This could be further boosted by a lack of holiday destinations on the continent this summer. Sadly, COVID-19 infection rates are rising across Europe, casting doubt on the feasibility of overseas travel during the spring, and possibly the summer. This uncertainty will likely lead UK holidaymakers to explore more domestic staycation options. ‘Staycation’ will surely benefit from the success of the UK’s vaccination rollout and appeal to the safety-conscious, with parks strictly adhering to ‘social distancing.’
Stock availability – New holiday homes
Over the past few years, the market has been affected by over-production. Dealers regularly carried excess stock, until COVID-19 completely changed the landscape of the market. After restrictions were lifted following Lockdown-1, ‘Staycation’ was the most viable option for a holiday. The market benefitted from this with the sale of new units increasing dramatically, quickly consuming the volume of available stock.
Since then, orders for 2021 season stock have been strong, but production has been heavily hampered. Manufacturers have had to withstand staff shortages and supply chain issues with materials and components, which has caused long lead time delays. Currently, very few units have been delivered and it is expected that most of the stock will not arrive in time for peak season.
Brexit has also contributed to long delays with importing. Increased paperwork has resulted in long delays and extra costs have been incurred. Although the government remain confident that these are just ‘teething issues’, it has caused unwelcome disruption.
The current shortage of available stock in the market has been described by one dealer as ‘chronic.’ Many dealers are unsatisfied with their stock levels, which is concerning as the market enters a selling period with such strong demand. Dealers report that stock turnover is as fast as ever, which is even more problematic with reduced numbers sourced weekly.
A lack of used stock is common within the market, although presently it appears to be more precarious than usual. Much like the supply of new, used units have been very limited since last summer, following on from the huge demand seen after the end of Lockdown-1. Since then, dealers have been intent on growing their stock levels in preparation for another robust year ahead. However, further restrictions and lockdowns over the winter made it difficult for dealers to travel and view stock.
Parks are hesitant to sell-off their older rental units during such an unpredictable period. As well as this, the continued decline in part-exchange has limited the volume of stock re-circulating back into the market, reducing the numbers of available stock further.
How long will the market experience this level of demand?
The market will likely experience a stronger year compared to 2020. Despite Easter’s peak period being missed, it looks unlikely that parks will be closed again after their scheduled re-opening in April. This suggests that the market’s biggest hindrance will be the new and used stock shortage.
Uncharacteristically, the market will suffer from demand outweighing supply for a second consecutive year. The timing of the likely arrival of large volumes of new stock in the autumn could prove ill-timed for the market. If Europe has suppressed its third wave and commenced with a successful vaccination rollout, UK holidaymakers could consider a return to traditional holidaying abroad, which may reduce demand.
That said, with COVID-19 creating uncertainty from the start, the ‘Staycation’ may well remain firmly in the consciousness of the public. Owning a holiday home allows the freedom to vacation at the owners choosing, and offers much more practicality than overseas trips. Thankfully, there does seem to be a returning sense of normality, and ‘staycation’ continues to be a leading beacon of stability in an uncertain environment.
For this edition, the majority of values increased around 2% to reflect the market’s high level of demand and shortage of available stock, except where trade feedback or evidence from the market has suggested further adjustments where necessary.