Demand for buy-to-let and holiday let or staycation properties has risen to unprecedented levels as investors pile in.
One Lake District estate agent, Nick Elgey, of Hackney and Leigh says that they are seeing “competitive bidding wars” which are bringing soaring house prices particularly around areas like Keswick in the North Lakes.
“I have specialised in estate agency throughout Cumbria for more than 30 years but I have never seen such intense levels of activity,” he has said.
Mr Elgey puts the sudden rush in demand and the resulting increase in house prices down the uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Houses that are suitable for letting it seems are “flying of the shelves” with sales being agreed very quickly when they come on to the market.
The unfortunate result is that locals are being priced out of the housing market at a faster rate than ever. Lake district property prices have been increasing at a faster rate than the average UK price for years, but this is now an unprecedented boom.
“Once we advertise a desirable Lake District house, we normally receive enquiries from all over the UK”, says Mr Elgey.
The Lake District is seen as a safe haven for property investment especially in times when travel abroad is restricted and likely to be so for some time – the staycation boom is increasing demand for all holiday let properties, but when they located are in an area of outstanding natural beauty, and a national park, to boot, the attraction is even greater.
In addition to the attraction of having the property for occasional personal use as a regular holiday destination for the family, the trend to more home working and increased commuter distances, some are considering these properties as a main residence
“They are seeking Lake District houses for recreational use as a second home or to earn rental income from holiday letting, especially following the staycation boom due to the pandemic and the record low bank base rate which is stagnating cash investments,” Mr Earley told local media.
Demand has always been high in the South Lakes, which are seen as ‘honeypot’ locations for holidays, but this is a new trend now evident in the North Lakes, with places like Keswick, Threlkeld, Braithwaite, and Pooley Bridge, near Penrith coming under the investors’ spotlight.
Victorian properties in Keswick are now selling for over £400,000 whereas only 18 months ago they would have gone for around £300,000. Rightmove’s statistics show that sales within a five-mile radius of Keswick rose by 25 per cent in 2020 over those recorded in 2018.