Privacy preferences make holiday apartments better investments than B&Bs

Privacy preferences make holiday apartments better investments than B&Bs
Privacy preferences make holiday apartments better investments than B&Bs

Investors looking for holiday rental properties might be better off considering self-catering apartments rather than bed and breakfasts or guest houses, according to a new survey.

Self-contained apartments had the highest national occupancy average rate of 40% in the June 2011 quarter, a Nielsen survey of 900 small accommodation owners commissioned by online holiday listings group Stayz has found.

In comparison, the occupancy rates for holiday houses, cabins and cottages over the period was just 27% and 25% for bed and breakfasts.

Stayz group business development director Justin Butterworth told Property Observer he had noticed a gradual trend of travellers looking for privacy and space, meaning “the configuration of holiday homes is appealing to more and more travellers”.

There is also the issue of price – B&Bs and guesthouses add greater value in terms of the catering component, but at a higher price.

He says self-contained apartments have the versatility of suiting holidaymakers, business travellers and those in the process of relocating.

“They are also suitable for smaller groups,” he says, with families comprising 43% of those who stay in self-contained apartments, couples comprising 33% couples, and friends 15%.

“They access more of the market.”

The survey found that self-contained apartments generated the highest revenue – $8,192 per property per quarter, with holiday houses, cabins and cottages managing $3,048 and B&Bs $2,214 – less than half the average for the entire sector ($4,553).

On average, small accommodation owners earn about $700 per weekend.

The sector as a whole registered a 30% vacancy rate during the quarter, with natural disasters and the strong currency factors in the low occupancy rate. The survey did not take into account seasonal variation.

Possibly the priciest guesthouse on the market currently is Mona, a historic Braidwood property offering guest house accommodation that has been listed by operators Greg and Kerry Schneider.

It’s a 45-hectare property with an 1890s homestead listed through Chris Meares of Meares & Associates in conjunction with Christie's International Real Estate agent Ken Jacobs with a $5.5 million asking price.

It includes a 1903 coach house used by Cobb & Co (pictured above). Its stables, which date from the 1860s, have been converted into a marble-tiled 7,000-litre plunge pool for guests.

More affordable is Grey Gum Lodge (pictured above) in the hippie town of Nimbin, NSW, being sold with $629,000 hopes. It includes four queen-sized bedrooms and two double bed rooms all with en suite bathrooms and is set on 1,214 square metre block with views to Lillian Rock and Border Range. The property is being sold by Chris Hayward from GNF Real Estate Murwillumbah.

According to the Stayz survey, accommodation owners expect demand for self-contained apartments rise the most, with occupancy rates increasing from 40% to 50% in the September quarter before dropping slightly to 49% by June next year.

Occupancy rates for holiday houses, cabins and cottages are expected to increase from 27% to 31% next quarter and to rise again to 34% by June next year.

B&B occupancies are forecasted to rise 3% to 28% next quarter and to rise again to 35% by June next year.

Holiday property owners in Western Australia are the most optimistic, with 45% expecting conditions to improve, while the gloomiest are in Tasmania, with nearly one in two (49%) expecting conditions to worsen.

Western Australia and Queensland had the highest occupancy rates during the quarter of 39% and 36%. South Australia, Tasmania and Queensland had occupancy rates of 30%, 31% and 36% respectively, while Victoria and NSW had the lowest each at 25%.

Larry Schlesinger

Larry Schlesinger

Larry Schlesinger was a property writer at Property Observer

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