The unpredictability of the Cornish weather means successful second homes have to offer something special to attract high rental returns, and increasingly buyers are drawn to property with that special extra something that appeals to visitors: close proximity to a good surfing beach, activity areas, sailing resorts or attractive boutique developments with communal gyms, spas, indoor pools and games rooms.
There is concern about potential rental returns at all price levels, says Miles Kevin of Chartsedge Estate Agents. “Resort property and lodges with excellent facilities are a significant market in Cornwall. Also, new apartments under £200,000 in the heart of Newquay are selling well this summer.”
Figures from rental company Pure Cornwall show that bookings for four- and five-star accommodation have increased fourfold over the past year. Cornwall is attracting high-end visitors who expect a holiday house to come with the modern comforts they have at home.
“Five years ago, everyone wanted to be by the sea but now they are thinking with their heads more than their hearts,” says Kevin. “They want something practical they can use themselves that will also earn some income. With good management and by working hard you can get 30 to 40 weeks’ rental on a good property.”
Two minutes’ walk from Newquay’s Fistral Beach, the UK’s most famous surfing sands, apartments at Tre Lowan on Pentire Head are selling well. New one- and two-bedroom homes, many with sea views, start from £125,000 and £162,500 for 521sq ft and 748sq ft through Chartsedge.
What marks these out are low annual service charges of £700, a good location on the quieter side of Newquay well away from pubs and clubs, strong rental potential of about 32 weeks a year — at up to £875 a week — and well thought-out design. There are outdoor showers, lockers for surfboards and parking.
Six miles further south, four large two-bedroom apartments at The Old Golf House on Perranporth golf course with sea views start at £299,000. These have easy access to the long sandy beach.
“Many buyers are keen to have on-site facilities with their property so they buy on resorts or lodge parks,” says Kevin. “On the whole they don’t mind paying reasonable service charges for in-house facilities because they know it rains in Cornwall.”
Gwel an Mor is a five-star holiday village high above Portreath Beach where family-friendly facilities include a small farm, indoor pool, gym and equestrian centre. Along with 58 chalets to rent, there are 50 two- and three-bedroom holiday homes for sale.
These are new and comfortable furnished lodges priced from £295,000 for 807sq ft or from £32,500 for a twelfth share. Full ownership comes with a six per cent guaranteed rental yield and annual service charges are £3,500.
At Watergate Bay, another popular surfing destination with a long, wide sandy beach, Will Ashworth has hit on a winning combination. With his brother Henry he took over their parents’ bucket-and-spade hotel to create a much-loved destination for well-heeled Londoners.
Guests at the Watergate Bay Hotel can eat at Jamie Oliver’s restaurant Fifteen, have surfing lessons at the Extreme Academy and, from last month, use the hotel’s impressive new indoor pool, gym and spa area.
“Cornwall cannot compete with the Med for sunshine or price so instead should concentrate on what it’s good at,” says Will.
“For us that means a unique landscape and delivering top-quality holidays. We aim to provide a ski-resort experience on a beach, somewhere to be active and also to relax in a beautiful setting.”
The Watergate Bay achieves an impressive 82 per cent year-round occupancy.
Chartsedge is selling The Village, handsome two-bedroom homes beside the hotel with full use of its facilities. Prices start from £520,000 plus VAT with a guaranteed gross rental return of seven per cent.
On the south coast, The Cornwall near St Austell is a five-star hotel with two- and three-bedroom lodges for sale from £285,000. Two-thirds of the 22 completed lodges in the first phase are sold, most to buyers who have chosen the Stay and Let Scheme, giving six per cent net guaranteed return for three years.
Chartsedge: 01803 863 108, chartsedge.co.uk
The Cornwall: 01726 879451, thecornwall.com
Watergate Bay Hotel: 01637 860543, watergatebay.co.uk