A winter of discontent
According to figures released by the National Caravan Council (NCC), as of May 2018, 10,651 units have been produced, which is an increase of 6.3% on the same period in 2017. The current moving annual total (M-A-T) also shows an increase, of 7.9% with 23,258 units being produced. Dispatches onto holiday parks in the same period continues its growth, with 10,435 being dispatched, which represents a 2.9% growth. The current M-A-T shows 20,834 which equates to a 1.6%. The statistics acknowledge small levels of growth in dispatches to parks as the season starts to slow down.
Despite writing this with glorious sunshine filling the room, it is still easy to feel a shiver when reflecting on the never-ending winter of 2017/18. The many hours of darkness, skin-biting temperatures and anarchic storm dubbed ‘The Beast from the East’ caused chaos. Especially for the holiday home industry. The relentless conditions have reportedly caused sales to be down on last year, with new, particularly suffering. For the first time in recent years, existing holiday home owners and potential consumers had their heads turned by heavily discounted beach holidays. Reportedly, large swathes of owners decided against renewing their plot for another year. Reasons for this include –
- Frost damage & costly boiler repairs
- Expensive pitch renewal costs
- Brexit/economy concerns
- Heavily discounted holiday packages in re-emerging areas such as Turkey & North Africa
Manufacturers have reacted to the difficult winter period by offering large discounts not seen for a few years, however large amounts of stock is understood to still be available. This will have given dealers a lot to think about as orders for 2019 stock will have started to be taken. It is possible that manufacturers may increase prices for 2019 as material costs rise which will not help the situation. Consumers will also be wary as Brexit negotiations continue to be confusing, despite it being less than a year until the official leave date.
Used demand appears to be positive. Consumers currently seem to be favouring good quality used units over new. Used prices are seen as affordable, with the mid-range price bracket being very popular. As always, quality stock is still hard to come by, especially units carrying spec. Units aged fifteen years and older are continuing to pose a problem. In the past there was still a market for them, be it for exporting or for farming accommodation. Higher levels of expected spec from within those markets have left these units redundant. Scrapping costs are expensive which is causing units to just be abandoned and dumped.
As we have entered the height of summer, the busiest selling part of the season is well and truly over. This combined with the difficult winter period means values have been decreased by 2% for this edition.