With the COVID-led focus on regional travel still paying dividends for short-term accommodation providers, caravan parks have become an attractive property-investment option.
Ray White's head of research Vanessa Rader said over the past four years, excluding lockdown periods, demand from travellers for domestic tourism, including caravan parks, increased.
"The national occupancy average (for caravan, camping and cabins) for 2022 was 61.5 per cent, well ahead of 2019 (pre-COVID) results of 49.4 per cent," Ms Rader said.
According to Ms Rader occupancy for caravan parks remains strong in 2023 with many caravan park buyers looking to purchase these assets not only for their current use but also future land-banking opportunities.
"The viability of caravan parks as an investment looks sound particularly due to their long-term potential, coupled with domestic tourism levels continuing to increase as the drive segment grows," she said.
"The current high cost of airfares and accommodation has aided in the uplift in demand for occupiers, keeping vacancies low and the prospect of continued rate increases high. "
Ms Rader cautions that the increases in interest rates may result in some softening in values and an expected reduction in investment activity during 2023 as quality assets continue to be tightly held.
ResortBrokers' Chris Kelly said there's no doubt COVID, and restricted international travel, helped kick-start the increasing interest in purchasing caravan parks.
"We have noticed the larger caravan park groups looking to expand their portfolios but at the same time the purchase of caravan parks and construction of more cabins for long-term workers in each regional district has also increased," he said.
He said ResortBrokers has sold 52 caravan parks since 2017 worth a combined total of $144 million in sales.
According to Tower Business and Real Estate's Tim Symes the first two things a buyer should do when looking at purchasing a caravan park is consider the location and its potential to grow.
Mr Symes said there's currently a lack of caravan parks coming to market.
"Springtime's typically the busiest time for us every year the industry's had growth-on-growth even through COVID," he said.
"It just shows how the Aussies love to have a holiday and caravans and cabins are a big part of that."
Here we take a look at some of the country's best caravan parks currently for sale:
Set on about 4 acres at the foot of the Great Dividing Range this caravan park is for sale for $1.595 million.
The Murrurundi property is 327 north of Sydney, 44 kilometres north of Scone and an hour south of Tamworth.
It's being offered for sale because its current owner has decided to retire after owning it for 10 years and the sale includes 13 cabins, five with ensuites and 22-powered drive-through van sites.
The property comes with a modern, three-bedroom owners'/managers' residence.
According to its selling agent Tourism Brokers' David Head it had yearly returns of about $131,350 in 2020/21 and 2021/22.
Located at Sussex Palms halfway between Nowra and Ulladulla on the NSW South Coast, the business comes with 36 sites on a 6,728 square-metre block.
The property, for sale for $3 million, comes with landscaped gardens, a pool and a covered barbeque area.
There are also eight four-berth cabins, one three-bedroom cabin and one bungalow as well as 28- privately-owned onsite vans/cabins providing income.
There's also a large renovated four-bedroom residence with water views, and parents' retreat on its own 917 square-metre title with a double garage and large custom-built carport to store a boat.
The property is being sold by Tourism Brokers' Jen Todd.
Located at 2625 Murray Valley Highway in Mystic Park, Victoria, Kangaroo Lake Caravan Park sits on the family-friendly Kangaroo Lake shoreline.
The 17-acre park also has road frontage to the busy Murray Valley Highway and is listed for sale with Tower Business & Real Estate's Tim Symes for $1.85 million
Some of the park's features include 13 park-owned cabins, including two cabins installed in September 2020, 43-annual site holders ensuring ongoing income, no third-party or online booking agents, 70kW solar panels and a new large commercial shed.
The park has a Australia Post Office sub-branch and take-away food outlet.
Located at 78 Macquarie Street on the banks of the Darling River in Bourke, Kidmans Camp consists of 25 cabins of various sizes, as well as 123 powered and 30 unpowered sites over 39 acres of land and is currently listed for sale for $4 million.
According to McGrath Orange's Jack Aumuller, who is working with Scott Petersen to sell Kidmans Camp, the property would offer its buyer an enviable lifestyle.
"They get visitors from everywhere; anyone traveling from Queensland all the way down south to Melbourne," Mr Aumuller said.
"It's at what's been referred to as the gateway to the West."
According to Aumuller the caravan park attracts thousands of visitors a year with the most recent financial figures for 2021 showing the site had a 14 per cent annual return.
Located on the Newell Highway, within five minutes' walk from the centre of Parkes, the Newell Highway Caravan Park is for sale for $1 million.
The site has 22-powered sites, seven cabins, of which four have a toilet and three have showers and toilets, and 10 permanent caravans with a dumping point for guests available.
Currently the Parkes road bypass is under development, and there are plans for the future development of an abattoir on the north side of town while the inland rail development and the development of the 45-hectare cold food distribution centre are also underway.
According to ResortBrokers' Chris Kelly, who is selling the property, there is huge demand for more accommodation in Parkes so the 6,898 square-metre site could be further developed.
Mr Kelly has lists the caravan park's annual returns as $117,249.
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