Bognor Regis’ ‘beach hut agent’ says the seaside properties have been snapped up in lockdown
He’s become known as ‘the beach hut agent’ and Bob May’s services have been in even higher demand due to lockdown.
Bob, from May’s estate agent in Felpham, said last year, pre-lockdown, he had around eight beach huts to sell with no interest but when the restrictions were lifted, they were all snapped up.
He said: “The demand has been astonishing.
“In February 2020, just before lockdown, I had about seven or eight huts to sell with no interest at all.
“By the end of May, I had sold them all.
“I now have a register of around 100 people hoping to buy one.
“We sell in Bognor Regis and the surrounds where I’ve become known locally as the ‘beach hut agent’.
“The huts range from about £5,000 with relatively short leases and up to £18,000 in Rustington but the prices are creeping up all the time.
“Back in 1995, I sold a hut for £450 but the same hut is now worth about £12,000.
“The demand has been enormous, since Christmas I’ve had around 30 enquiries with people keen to get whatever they can but I’ve no huts left to sell.”
May’s website featured just one hut this week at Culver Road, Felpham.
On the market for £12,000 on a five year lease from 2017, ground rent is £535 per annum.
The hut measures 7ft 10in by 5ft 10in and has ‘probably the best paint finish this agent has seen in a beach hut – ever’.
Demand has risen across the country for beach huts in the wake of the pandemic, with prices rising by up to a third, property website OnTheMarket has found.
The ‘wooden sheds’ which are often no more than 6ft x 6ft, mostly without utilities, and used for storage are now ‘hot property.’
OnTheMarket discovered that compared with September last year, the average price of a beach hut has increased from £27,805 to £35,919 – a rise of 29 per cent.
There are also 60 per cent fewer available for sale now compared with six months ago.
Website pageviews of beach huts also leapt 259 per cent in March compared with just six months ago and estate agents across the country say their rise in popularity is stark.
Vikki Bennett, spokesperson for OnTheMarket, said: “Having spent significant amounts of time at home under lockdown restrictions, it’s no wonder that increasing numbers of pent-up Britons are now attracted to the idea of buying a beach hut to own a slice of the outdoors.
“And while many people may be reluctant to travel abroad this summer due to the pandemic even if restrictions are lifted, it seems likely that the popularity of Britain’s beach huts is set to increase
It is estimated that there are around 20,000 huts in the UK. Depending on the location, they are either owned privately or owned by the local authority.
Lockdown restrictions have been imposed on beach huts and their use, and owners have been advised to follow the latest Government guidance.