Average British beach hut now worth £28k – here’s what it costs to rent one

You may have noticed that beach huts have been causing a furore up and down the country, with beachgoers willing to do almost anything to secure leases and some sellers demanding up to £600,000 for tiny structures.

Just this week, owners of sought-after beach huts on Essex seafronts were warned by the council to stop making extravagant additions to their huts, such as balconies and patios, in a bid to rent them out for expensive events and parties.

What remains clear is that beach huts are hot property in the UK. Research by Hoo, the hotel room offer platform, shows that the average price of a beach hut soared by 41 per cent last year, fuelled by the popularity of staycations during the lockdowns. This year, a hut will cost £27,500 on average.

Sandy retreat: Beach huts on the dunes near Christchurch in Dorset. After the lockdown staycation boom, huts are hot property, costing £27,500 on average

Now consider the returns. The average cost of renting a beach hut is £1,190 per month, about £40 a day. To put this in perspective, the daily rate of a hotel is only £67, rising to £112 in London.

Jodie Granger-Brown runs a lucrative business — The Happy Huts — managing the lettings for 15 other beach hut owners and owning two huts herself in Wells-next-the-Sea, North Norfolk.

For £60 a day, Jodie ensures her huts have everything a family needs for a traditional British day at the beach, including outdoor chairs, windbreaks, beach toys and a gas stove to make a cup of tea.

‘I bought my first hut 15 years ago for £50,000 and today it would sell for £90,000,’ says Jodie. 

‘Demand boomed last year and I don’t see it fading. My huts are nearly fully booked for the season. A beach hut is the perfect way to counteract the British weather.’

 It’s great to have a base where we can prepare drinks and a simple meal – and it saves the bother of carrying all our gear down to the beach

Sade Chapman, 32, rents one of Jodie’s huts every three months or so as a treat for her two children, Emily, three and Jack, six. 

‘It’s great to have a base where we can prepare drinks and a simple meal,’ says Sadie. ‘And it saves the bother of carrying all our gear down to the beach.’

The price of beach huts varies alarmingly around our coastline, but undoubtedly our St Tropez is Mudeford in Dorset. 

Mudeford Spit, to use its full name, is a long bank of sand separating the sea from the inner waters of Christchurch harbour.

To get the full Robinson Crusoe experience, the residents are allowed, for eight months of the year, to sleep in the huts overnight to the sound of the waves — hence them changing hands for eye-watering sums. 

This spring the going rate was about £350,000 and one hut sold for £570,000. However, they rent for £126 a night.

Big business: A row of beach huts at Whitby in Yorkshire. Across the UK, the tiny structures rent out for an average of £40 per day

Big business: A row of beach huts at Whitby in Yorkshire. Across the UK, the tiny structures rent out for an average of £40 per day

Huts on The Spit sell as soon as they come on the market but a six-minute drive away at Avon Beach prices are appreciably lower. ‘Position is everything,’ says Gareth Bowden of estate agents, Winkworth. ‘

‘At Avon Beach, we are selling a front row hut with views towards the Isle of Wight, for £100,000. Second row huts sell for £70,000 and one in the back row costs about £68,000.’

The beach huts at Avon Beach rent for about £30 a day.

The five beach huts at Branscombe, Devon are just as well positioned as those on Mudeford Spit. Set beneath the cliffs, right on the beach itself, these cedarwood huts have pine interiors with sitting rooms opening onto balconies that look out to sea.

Sadly, there are also drawbacks to living so close to nature: in the storms of 2014 the huts suffered considerable damage. Yet it didn’t deter someone last month meeting the asking price of £275,000 for one of them.

Beach huts are also downright trendy nowadays. They appear regularly on social media and ‘seaside chic’ is featured in glossy lifestyle magazines such as Coast.

Vicky Gunn at Millie’s Beach Huts in Walton-on-the-Naze even offers a styling consultancy advising on how to furnish a beach hut and it is all a long way from plastic washing up bowls, splinters on the floor and the smell of fish paste sandwiches. 

Craftsman James Wood has a business making new beach huts. Beech work tops and oiled floors are de rigueur.

Yet owning a beach hut as an investment isn’t a simple matter of handing over the keys and collecting the money. There may be a service charge or ground rent.

At Branscombe that amounts to £1,530 a year. Also, the huts need on-going maintenance. 

‘The sea air and winter storms are a real problem,’ says Jodie. ‘The damp warps the doors. I need to paint them every year and fix all the bolts that rust so easily.’

Ultimately, owning a beach hut is as much a labour of love as an investment. ‘There’s something refreshing about spending a day in the beach hut looking out to sea,’ says Sade, a paediatric nurse. ‘You get this sense of space that is so calming.’

On the market… beside the seaside 

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