Is a static caravan a good investment?

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No, is the straight answer; if you want to make money from owning a static caravan, I’d say it is very difficult because of ground rent, site fees, insurance, and the dismal British summers.

During COVID-19, we bought a static caravan on a Haven site in Weymouth, as that’s where my wife’s family lives. There are five of us and a dog, one weekend, we thought we’d rent one instead of invading the in-laws.

But, with typical impetuousness and a crudely optimistic spreadsheet, I texted the wife and said, “It would actually be cheaper to just buy one rather than pay the £450 every time where I wanted to go down.”

The monthly financing charges were only about £290, which was less than our car. We opted for the cheapest one on site because I really can’t tell the difference between one caravan and another. It was about £23k, I think.

The first year was great (from an investment money retention point of view) because COVID restrictions were still in place, and we could rent it out for £150 a night when we weren’t there. The genius that is AirBNB made renting it out really easy.

But when people were able to fly abroad again, the rent rates dropped to around £75 a night in peak season. Then someone stole the steps, which was quite odd when I got a message from some guests asking how they got in. I just said through the doors, but how do we get up to them, I said? It was really bizarre. Apparently, caravan steps go for about £200 on eBay, a thriving secondary market.

We had a wonderful time there for two glorious summers.

But the second year was much more expensive.

Site fees are included in the van’s price in the first year, but in year two, you have to cough up over £7k to keep the van on site, which is like having a second mortgage.

We were not using it as much as we needed to to cover the costs, so we had to rent it out more. This also meant we didn’t really go down to visit family, as the van was always booked by other people.

Plus, when we decided to sell it, you really have to sell it back to Haven, as trying to flog a static caravan on Facebook marketplace is not really my cup of tea. I’ve been trying to sell an old car seat for a while now, and I have deleted all my social media apps, so I don’t get messages. It’s my fault, I know.

But when you try and sell it back to Haven, you understand how actually to make money from static homes.

To make money from static caravans, you need to own a caravan park. Just like if you want to make money gambling, you should own a casino.

When Haven bought it back two years later, I think we got around £10k for it. They will then sell it for around £20k and generate income from site fees.

However, when all is said and done, I think we broke even over two years, plus we had some amazing family times on the site, which had a pool, arcade, and a pub with some of the best views of the lagoon in Weymouth.

Would I buy another one? No. Am I glad I bought that one? Yes.

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