Happy campers keep caravan parks in hot demand

Demand for caravan parks remain high as the sector continues to build on the momentum from the lockdown era.

Ray White Group Head of Research, Vanessa Rader, said there was still plenty of interest in the sector despite the rising cost of finance.

She said during 2023, $114.06 million changed hands across the country for caravan assets, after peak investment activity in 2022 when more than $300 million was transacted. 

“In 2024, sales of mixed use holiday parks, which offer cabins as well as caravan sites, have already exceeded $100 million,” Ms Rader said.

“Northern NSW was a key location of interest together with smaller offerings in Queensland and Western Australian regional markets.”

Ms Rader said yields for these assets were mixed, with the quality of the asset and land potential all factored into value. 

“This year, transactions have ranged from as low as 6 per cent to upwards of 9.5 per cent, with private investors, family offices, and operator/occupiers the most active buyer groups,” she said.

She said the attraction of caravan parks as an asset class was understandable, with limited start-up and ongoing maintenance required, the asset can operate on limited resources and can offer high returns. 

“The drive holiday market grew in popularity during the pandemic as travel movements were restricted,” she said.

“Post-pandemic we continue to see strong occupancy levels with the flexibility and relatively low cost attractive to many travellers. 

“A growing ‘grey nomad’ sector in Australia has seen many retirees increase visitor nights, together with remote workers, however, couples and families still remain the largest occupier group with the ability to bring pets an added bonus.”

During 2023, the total visitor nights saw a minor annual decline nationally, representing 59.84 million, down from 60.30 million nights she said.

“Despite this small fall in the number of nights, visitor numbers were up at 15.72 million with expenditure reaching $10.72 billion, the highest spend on record,” Ms Rader said.

G7R7P caravan camping total accommodation

She said results across each state were mixed, with NSW and Victoria the only markets recording visitor night growth, collectively accounting for half of all paid nights. 

“Occupancy has also been high in April achieving 59.8 per cent in NSW and 64.9 per cent for Victoria, down from January highs of 73.7 per cent and 71 per cent respectively,” she said.

“Some of the smaller markets have also seen quality results, Tasmania seeing occupancy reach 80 per cent earlier this year, while both Western Australia and South Australia saw occupancy around 60 per cent this last month and set new highs in revenue per site.

“Supporting the growth in occupancy anticipated for these destinations, has been the continued uptick in caravan registrations. 

“In 2023, 765,150 caravans were registered in Australia growing 5.3 per cent in the last year, campervans also growing registrations by 4.9 per cent highlighting the ongoing requirement for holiday facilities such as caravan parks.”

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