Devon or Dubai? Exploring the skyrocketing prices of UK holiday homes
The 12th of April was a big day for the UK, with the first set of lockdown measures being lifted across the country. This meant that lots of businesses were finally able to reopen – including self-contained holiday accommodation. This was absolutely fantastic news for both travellers and also the people that owned these holiday lets. Since the start of the original UK lockdown in March 2021, it has been an incredibly bumpy ride for owners of holiday homes – being allowed to reopen in the summer of 2020 to a record numbers of holidaymakers, only to be shut down again in the winter months due to coronavirus restrictions being re-tightened.
This stop-start journey has been so disruptive for businesses trying to keep afloat, leading to many places upping their prices in order to make up for what they have lost over the past few months. This doesn’t sound like too big a deal at first, but when a holiday in Cornwall becomes more expensive than a trip to New York, you know things have gotten a bit out of hand…
Before the pandemic, the idea of a staycation was certainly not as popular as it is now. However, they were often an affordable alternative to those not wishing to spend extra money travelling abroad. Now, with the potential risk of international travel and the gradual relaxation of restrictions for travelling abroad, demand for staycation-style holidays has skyrocketed, with 80% of destinations in Cornwall already fully booked, and around 70% fully booked for Devon.
We did some research and found one particular UK cottage rental service had almost doubled their prices since last year, with the same cottage costing nearly £600 at the beginning of 2020 and now costing over £1000 for the same week in 2021. A holiday-let owner has also claimed that she has been privately messaged by potential guests who want to pay more money than what guests who are currently booked have paid already – essentially creating a bidding war in order to secure the accommodation for themselves. She also revealed that her waiting list stretched out to a massive 200 people already, with it only on the increase, too.
Furthermore, research conducted by Mintel found that people in the UK could spend up to a total of £7bn on domestic holidays in 2021, up from the £5.8bn that was spent in 2019. Though a rise was expected, with the industry looking to get back on its feet after 2020, there is concern that the demand for UK holidays will far outstrip the supply that is available. Furthermore, a study by VisitBritain found that, despite the exceeding demands, the industry will still see losses of around £30bn in 2021, compared to 2019.
Despite UK holiday prices being at an all-time high, some may still be cheaper than going abroad. Depending on the country you are visiting, you may be required to pay for expensive PCR tests upon your return in order to prevent new strains of the coronavirus from entering the country. There is also the matter of managed quarantine hotels you must stay in on your return – some of these adding several thousands of pounds to your trip.
Right now, testing kits can range from anywhere from £40-£100, depending on the test you want to do. Airports will also not accept tests carried out through the NHS, due to airlines not being able to certify them and prove that they are legitimate. The UK transport secretary, Grant Shapps, has vowed to lower the cost of the testing measures holidaymakers will face when going abroad in order to encourage more people travel, but until that happens, staycation demand will continue to soar.
Are these places worth the money? That is entirely down to you, but if you’re planning on booking somewhere in the UK, be prepared for high demand and to spend more than you might have initially thought. If you are willing to spend the money, there are some truly beautiful destinations that could be right outside your doorstep – check out our staycation guide blog post here.
Written by Joe Corfield.