South West Leisure Market Bouncing Back

South WEst le4isure market

South West Leisure sector experiencing a long awaited bounce back

After a rather stagnant end to 2022 and a slow start to 2023, there are encouraging signs that the Leisure market is starting to recover some of its bounce and swagger. Michael Easton, Head of Hotels and Hospitality at Vickery Holman, commented that he had seen the best three months for Leisure of the year so far.

‘I think we’re finally seeing the return of the leisure property market that was so strong in 2021 and the start of 2022, and frankly we’ve missed it!’ Easton said. ‘This has started in the leasehold sector where we have terms agreed for lettings across Devon and Cornwall, which will be announced individually across the next few weeks and now we are seeing interest in freehold sites once again. The general malaise that set in last year appears to have lifted and interest has been particularly strong in Devon and Cornwall right now, where demand for decent pubs and hotels is definitely feeling more robust than it has for quite a while. We have a couple of very big deals in the pipeline and where there was a lot of uncertainty about the leisure market last year, that doesn’t seem to be the case now.’

Easton also noted that Vickery Holman have been instructed on several new properties in the last week, which are likely to trigger high levels of interest. ‘Operators are always interested in properties and businesses with track record and a history of success and more recently we have been running marketing campaigns where we have called for best and final offers to help us to decide  between the numerous enquiries received. More recent instructions include the Bullers Arms In Landrake, Cornwall and the Butchers Arms, Carhampton, Somerset, both of which are village freehold pub sites which we expect to be snapped up this year, having received early interest. Where buyers became more hesitant last year and the mood was generally one of caution,  the well managed and well-presented venues have in fact reported strong trading numbers and this has finally filtered through to buyers who have been waiting in the wings for opportunities. ‘

Using the right strategy for the right venue is a key part of the advice given to clients by the agency team and in the past few months an effective way to get traction and results for specific sites have been to run a timed marketing campaign and call for all bids. This have been effective across the board ranging from a caravan site in West Cornwall owned by the St Aubyn Estate which received multiple proposals, to a wine café under the Tamar Bridge in Saltash which has resulted in a new letting from the start of July. In addition this has been a successful strategy for two Exeter sites, The Queens Head at Polsloe Bridge and The Exonian on Fore Street, both of which are under offer and over the guide price.

Whist it is not the right fit in ever instant, but where the venue offers a number of uses or the owner needs choices to decide upon a suitable tenant it can be an effective strategy.

Vickery Holman has commercial and leisure agents covering Cornwall to Bristol and is the largest team of property surveyors in the South West.

To talk to us about your Leisure property or business, you can contact our Leisure team here.


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