by Harry Pope
Lots of park home estates these days are far more desirable than they used to be, but, wow, the prices have gone pretty high for the brand new ones.
When I was a lad we used to call them prefabs. That stood for prefabricated, because the parts were made off-site, brought in on the back of a lorry, and within hours had been joined together. Hey presto there’s another new home. They were temporary, as a lot of housing had been bombed during WW2, habitable housing was more at a premium, they were supposed to be there for only a few years. These prefabs have now mainly gone, their successors developed into desirable residences that can easily compare price-wise with permanent brick homes. In the UK alone there are over 1,800 residential park home estates, with varying degrees of desirability.
Why live in a park home? Well, they come complete when new with all fixtures and fittings, tastefully designed and ready to go, so if you don’t like what is on offer, then you can subsequently provide your own at your expense. The permanent homes tend to have an age limit, forget about buying one if you are under 55. The idea is that people living on the estates should be aware of their social responsibilities, very few pets can be kept so forget about anything livelier than a hamster. They come in three sizes, singles, single and a half, and double, generally prices match the size. A single will have one bedroom, an extra that can be used as a small bedroom, or study, or dining area, a lounge, and a bathroom with shower.
Double size has two good sized bedrooms, one en suite, large kitchen, lounge the width of the home, and a dining area. Each park home is elevated, on some kind of brick, with a floor to ground covering. Steps will lead to both front and back doors, it will be a peaceful place to live. There will be a monthly ground rent to the park home owners, who will be responsible for garden and ground maintenance. If you are lucky there will be a hard standing parking area as part of your plot. There is only one downside. If you want new, be prepared to pay for it.
Some friends of ours have a lovely park home close to the East Sussex town of Eastbourne, their annual maintenance is well into four figures. The new build double homes are for sale well in excess of £230,000, there are plenty for sale for £150,000. Because that is where you pay extra. When you come to sell, you have to pay 10% of your selling price to the owners of the site. That means that most people are stuck, because their budget is limited initially to a park home that isn’t made of bricks and mortar. In fifty years time it won’t be worth a great deal, because later models will make the old ones obsolete. But the current owners won’t care, it will be their descendants who will bear the financial brunt.
In some ways, it makes a sound decision. You have a great almost new home at hopefully less than the price of a bungalow, or flat. You won’t have to cut your grass, you will have mature neighbours who are considerate. No loud parties, no kids running round, no anti-social behaviour. There is often a club house with pleasant social activities, it’s often on a bus route, and is conducive to a pleasant living environment.
The downside is no pets, no appreciating asset, and the older you get maybe it’s not so accessible for the less mobile.
There is a newer trend these days, the promotional campaign is fronted by a prominent well-rewarded celebrity who smiles with white teeth, eulogising about the benefits. These sites are roughly half as much again, the homes are closer together, communal parking, with double sized ones at a premium. I have looked at one of these sites, not for me.
Would I live on one of the others? Certainly consider, as it’s peaceful, you can hear the birds sing, no wild parties, everyone’s in bed by midnight at the latest, unless they have to get up during the night for a very quiet call of nature.
Harry Pope moved to Eastbourne in 2003, his experience of owning a 28 bedroom hotel is shared in Hotel Secrets, available on Amazon. He was in partnership with an American who had no money.
Harry’s latest writing successes: Buried Secrets, sold over 5,000 copies on Amazon, £2.99 e-version, or £6.99 printed.
Hotel Secrets (don’t buy that hotel) £3.99 e-version, £5.99 Amazon
Six long ghost stories all about Ballygobackwards Castle. A series of ghost stories also audio. Find on Amazon, very reasonable 99p each.