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Are holiday homes a good investment?

Holiday lets are likely to be an expanding market and now could be a fantastic time to invest. With a great deal of uncertainty in the travel industry over the last few years due to Brexit, the weakened pound, and (unforgettably) a global pandemic, consumers have opted for UK holidays.

The holiday rental marketplace, Snaptrip, reports a huge 284% rise in demand for staycations since April 2021, with tourism becoming the fastest growing industry in Britain, set to be worth over £257 billion by 2025.

Henry Rouse of Habitat Escapes says, “we have seen a sharp increase in the number of owners looking to rent out their properties and a huge 45% increase in the number of consumers looking for holiday rentals on our estates since 2021. We believe that UK destinations will remain part of consumers’ holiday portfolio in the future”.

Affordability and hassle-free travel will ensure that UK holidays will remain a firm favourite for Brits and generate good demand for holiday lets in the future.

Is an investment in holiday rentals a good idea?
Owning a second home as a holiday let can be rewarding personally and financially. With the obvious benefits of escaping city life and connection with loved ones, investment in a holiday rental can generate income, supplement savings in retirement or simply cover the costs of owning a second home.

What could be better than having spectacular scenery, historic market towns and villages, or even award-winning beaches on your doorstep? It is not surprising that a huge motivator for investment in a holiday home is that you can combine a successful business and offset the cost of your holidays.

Deciding on whether to invest requires an understanding of the market, interest rates, mortgages, tax implications and all other influencing factors.

Short-term holiday lets can be much more profitable than longer-term lets, given that you can charge the same for a week’s holiday as you can for a month’s long-term let. The rental yield you can obtain from a holiday let can be up to 30% greater than a standard buy-to-let annual 8% return.

Returns on property sales have been hitting record highs over the last couple of years and years and rising; many investors in holiday lets are using this to strengthen their pension pots for their retirement.
Rory Paxton of Habitat First Group says, “The market for domestic holiday homes is buoyant and has been for some time. Sales are frequently being agreed at full asking price or above and, in some instances, before being launched officially online.”

There can be significant tax benefits of holiday let properties not afforded to buy to let landlords, making a huge difference in profitability. A holiday let is treated as a business for tax purposes, whereas a buy-to-let is regarded as an investment giving rise to investment income. Unlike the latter, owners of holiday lets can deduct the entire cost of their mortgage interest regardless of other income. Holiday lets are subject to business rates rather than council tax.

If your holiday let is available for at least 210 days a year and let out for a minimum of 105 days each year, you are eligible for tax benefits.

Understanding the ever-changing mortgage market is imperative. Some high street lenders may be cautious about lending on a property that has a restriction, or it may be that you cannot live in the property 365 days a year. Specialist mortgage brokers can help find a lender to suit your specific needs. “We meet many customers who understandably try to arrange their own finance but end up in a quagmire of criteria and rules that ultimately mean a “no” from the lender. Just having someone who understands the market and the locations can take the pressure away,” says Sally Hilliker at House and Holiday Home Mortgages.

Holiday lets require ongoing work and management, which can be very demanding. Choosing a trusted and reliable management agency is the key to the success of any holiday let investment. Expert advice and support will make your investment journey painless. Partnering with industry experts like Habitat Escapes, the on-site specialists for Silverlake, Dorset and Lower Mill Estate, can take away all the hassle from property letting by providing a full management service.

Where should you buy? Finding the right area should be based on budget and potential returns. Consider desirable locations (on the coast, market towns, rural hot spots and popular walking destinations) where you would enjoy holidaying yourself. Destinations under 3 hour’s drive from large cities (particularly London) and your own home are best to ensure the property gives good returns and benefits for your family in equal measures.

Run and managed well, a holiday home could provide you with a great deal of pleasure and more significant financial gains and tax advantages than many other investments.

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A unique spa and leisure complex for Silverlake

Silverlake, Dorset has exciting plans for the development of a truly unique spa and leisure destination. The new facilities will offer visitors an innovative and eco-friendly outdoor destination spa, the first of its kind in the UK.

Silverlake is already renowned for its outstanding relationship with sustainability and ecology and by creating a spa that is nestled into the surrounding landscape, visitors will be able to absorb the positive benefits of the natural world.  

The spa will have both an indoor and outdoor pool, with sixteen lakeside treatment rooms and four lakeside cabanas. Situated in a prime position on the waterside of one of the Estate’s many lakes, visitors will be able to go ‘wild’ swimming and have access to water sports equipment, Kneipp walks, relaxation hubs, a floating fire pit and hydrothermal experiences.

The Firefly restaurant will sit lakeside and will include an open plan kitchen, bar, shop, events space and terrace with views across the water and plenty of areas to savour the surrounding landscapes and tranquillity of the spa.

This new spa promises to be an incredible addition to Silverlake, providing a haven for residents and guests alike, as well as a rejuvenating experience for day visitors to enjoy. To find out more, click on the link below and sign up to the mailing list to ensure you are the first to hear about updates and upcoming launches.

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Conservation concern for House Martins and Swifts

House Martins and Swifts have just become Red-listed birds of conservation concern. Tragically, numbers have declined so dramatically that they are now of the highest conservation priority, with both species requiring urgent action.

In 2005, at our Cotswold Estate, Lower Mill Estate, we put up 60 artificial nesting boxes for House martins. In the following years, these were regularly used and the numbers across the Estate boomed as House martins built nests on the new houses in Clearwater and Howells Mere.

At our peak about three years ago we had nearly 250 nests which were thought by the British Trust for Ornithology to be the largest House martin population in the UK. Over the last two years, we have seen the number of House martins decline as they have struggled to get to the UK, following big storms in the Mediterranean.

We are keeping everything crossed that the numbers will increase and to support this, we are encouraging residents to leave natural nests on their houses all year, and we are creating areas of mud where the birds can collect nest-building material. It takes three days for House martins to repair a nest ready for the next summer, and three weeks to build a new one. A lot of work after a long journey from Africa.

On both sites, we have swift towers which are designed to attract nesting swifts and we are hopeful that they will be used soon. All new properties are being fitted with a swift brick or swift box to encourage these beautiful birds to nest once they find us.

For more information on what we do or if you are a resident who would like to know how to help, please contact us at

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Conservation without Borders

Recently we had the pleasure of welcoming Sacha Dench*, a renowned and passionate conservationist, to Silverlake, Dorset, for a conversation with our Chief Ecologist, Dr Phoebe Carter, about Habitat First Group’s unique conservation work. With many accolades to her name, including Ambassador for the UN’s Convention on Migratory Species and the ‘Human Swan’, Sacha passionately raises awareness about the climate crisis we are currently facing. Sacha joined us on her historic Round Britain Climate Challenge as she circumnavigated the British Coastline in an electric paramotor, landing to talk to some of Britain’s most inspiring individuals, communities and businesses ahead of COP26.

Chatting candidly with Sacha, Phoebe shares the unique and fascinating vision that Habitat First Group’s founder, Jeremy Paxton, had for creating a diverse culture, where people live cohesively with nature; something that his children Red, Ruby and Rory continue today.

As the conversation continues, Phoebe shares how Silverlake has evolved from a disused quarry into an area of flourishing habitats. From tall grasses, dense wetlands, swathes of heathland, and never-ending wild hedgerows, Silverlake is a welcoming home to over 146 different species of migrating birds including, Nightjars, Sand martins, Swifts and Swallows, and a huge range of other wonderful wildlife.

In conclusion, Phoebe shares how Silverlake is leading the way – showing that nature shouldn’t be considered an inconvenience by developers, but should be actively welcomed. Bringing nature into the estate as a key focus enriches our residents’ and guests’ experiences and boosts their well-being and the nature-based solutions that are incorporated into the Estate benefit the climate and wildlife too.

Phoebe and Sacha’s message is both poignant and clear. By working more collaboratively with nature, we can respond to the critical condition of the ecological emergency which is so intrinsically linked with the climate crisis. By working together, we can start to make the much-needed change for a better future.

To view Sacha and Phoebe’s conversation in full, click here.

*A month after this conversation, Sacha was injured in an accident whilst in the last stages of the Round Britain Climate Challenge. We wish Sacha all the best in her continued recovery.