‘They’re like gold dust’: why the humble beach hut is the new des res | Property

When Vicky Gunn bought a little ramshackle beach hut at Walton-on-the-Naze in Essex four years ago for £10,500, she had no idea what an incredible investment it would turn out to be.

Last week, she sold the seafront hut with its new stylish interior for £48,000. “It’s really bizarre. £10,000 is a lot of money but £48,000 is life-changing for a lot of people,” she said.

The property market has gone through the roof in the past year, and the trend is even more exaggerated when it comes to the UK’s 20,000 beach huts.

Prices have jumped this year with the revival of the British seaside brought on by Covid travel restrictions, said Charlie Ramsay, chief executive of Beachhuts.com, a beach hut listings site. “The interest has never been higher,” he said. “One hut in Wells-next-the-Sea on the north Norfolk coast was advertised for sale in April at £83,000 — itself a 20% jump on last year. It received 10 expressions of interest and sold for £92,000 two weeks later.

“They don’t stay on the site for very long, the average being four weeks,” he added.

Michelle Burgess, who runs a dog accessories brand in north Kent, has always loved beach huts and has been looking for years for one to buy within walking distance of her home. She has had no luck so far in getting hold of one, and has even gone so far as to put notes under people’s beach hut doors.

“They are like gold dust — they just seem to have gone crazy,” she said.

“It would just be really lovely to have one and have sort of a base if friends and family came down to visit or if I just wanted a bit of peace and quiet. I love going down to the beach on the days when it’s wild and windy.”

A stylish interior for a Millie’s beach hut in Walton.
A stylish interior for a Millie’s beach hut in Walton. Photograph: Clive Walker/© Millie’s Beach Huts

It is not only sales that are exploding. Anyone expecting to just turn up and hire a beach hut for the day would be sadly disappointed. At Scarborough, where beach huts were first popularised by Victorian bathers, the 150 council-run beach huts are fully booked for every day of the summer holidays.

The most sought-after rental huts boast stylish and even luxury interiors but are booked many months in advance.

Gunn, who still owns one beach hut, puts the explosion over the last few years down in part to social media, where the bright colours and kitschy designs quickly attract fans.

“Instagram is unbelievable now,” she said. “Every beach hut owner who has styled their hut is showcasing their renovations — they want to show it off.”

This year, both of Gunn’s huts featured on the BBC TV show Interior Design Masters with Alan Carr. “It’s like an element of keeping up with the Joneses – if people are going to hire a beach hut, they want to take pictures and they want it to be nice.”

Read The Full Story