Father and son team to tap into growing market boosted by Brexit
Brexit may be continuing to cause business uncertainty in many sectors but a Scottish lodge park operator is reporting that demand for its product is at an all-time high.
William Stewart Jnr, who co-owns a number of lodge parks across Scotland, says Brexit – combined with the drop in sterling – has boosted investments and the holiday home market in Scotland by 60%. With that in mind, he and his father (of the same name), who is also his business partner, have purchased a new £20 million lodge park in St Andrews.
They plan to open the development, which is located on the south side of the town, closest to Edinburgh, next year, subject to planning permission.
According to the Stewarts, who already own Grand Eagles in Auchterarder; Loch Manor Estate at Dunning, and Lochlands near Forfar, the lodge sector is experiencing greater buoyancy than at any time since the boom years prior to 2008.
They say competition is fierce among operators to acquire new parks and provide added value to make their developments stand out from the crowd.
Stewart Jnr, a young businessman who got out of new house building in 2008 just prior to the crash, said: “We are hugely excited about our new park. St Andrews is a fabulous location, a town offering great golf, a fantastic foodie vibe and lots to see and do with a coastal location to boot.
“To have not invested in this park in a proven location like St Andrews would have been a major missed opportunity as the sector is so vibrant.
“Competition is becoming fierce for new parks. The new St Andrews park, to include a leisure facility with spa and mini golf, will be nothing less than five star. Overall, this represents an investment by us of some £20 million.”
Stewart Snr said: “We have invested nearly £5 million in Loch Manor and there has been a marked increase in tourists coming to the village. At Grand Eagles we have also invested heavily in this beautiful lodge park.
“With less people going abroad, the market in Scotland is booming as it enjoys the ideal location and has so much to see and do. Grand Eagles is just a few miles from Gleneagles and this really is a big draw. The lodges we are offering here have an extremely high specification.”
Eddie McCabe, who heads up Sales & Marketing at the two Perthshire parks, said:“Purchasers considering lodge ownership are looking to buy for their own personal holiday use, and as a way of investing a lump sum to yield a guaranteed rental return.
“We offer a rental investment yield of approximately 18.5% per annum for the increasing number of people of all ages currently considering these lodges as a significant investment opportunity.
“We have young professionals currently investing, and we have a broad spectrum of business people buying into this. The flipside is that you can also holiday here in one of the most attractive and sought after parts of Scotland, with Gleneagles just up the road.
“At Loch Manor, where a new phase has been introduced to keep up with demand, we can guarantee a rental income of at least £15,000 in the first year for those buying a new lodge here in 2017.
“We are seizing our opportunities to grow this business to the next level. It has been well documented that the combined effects of Brexit, coupled with house prices rising last year and sterling falling, has caused demand for new investment opportunities, particularly for passive incomes.”