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April 22, 2021, 4:06 p.m. EDT

How tiny ‘beach huts’ became the hottest commodity in British real estate

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By Rupert Steiner

The cost of renting a tiny “beach hut” is now more expensive than the average monthly rate for property in Kensington and Chelsea, one of the U.K.’s most exclusive neighborhoods.

The price of purchasing one has jumped because COVID-19 restrictions mean more Brits are holidaying in the U.K., due to uncertainties around traveling abroad, according to new research by hotel booking website Hoo.

Read: I’d like to buy a home in a warm spot near the beach for $350,000 — where should I retire?

There has been increased demand at coastal resorts such as Sandbanks in Dorset, Whitstable, Kent and Southwold, Suffolk for beach huts, brightly colored wooden boxes where renters can change into their bathing suits and make a cup of tea. They are similar to cabanas.

Beach huts are small 1 meter by 3 meter cabins that are 2 meters high — they are not meant to be lived in.

The research shows if you were to rent a beach hut in Mudeford, Dorset for a month, you would be looking at a rental cost of £3,639 ($5,062), which is even more expensive than the average rent in London’s Kensington and Chelsea borough at £2,977.

While lockdown restrictions, which prevented people traveling around the country, have affected demand for beach hut rental, the prospect of Brits having to holiday in the U.K. has seen beach hut sale prices soar.

A beach hut purchase will cost £36,034 on average, a 41% jump on last year, according to Hoo.

Read: This $35 Million Penthouse Will Be the Most Expensive Condo Listed in Honolulu

Beach huts date to the 1800s, came originally with wheels, and were pushed to beaches and protected the modesty of users when changing. Queen Victoria had one installed in the 1840s on the Isle of Wight, off the south coast of England.

King George III used one when he went bathing, while being serenaded with “God Save the King.”

Adrian Murdock, co-founder of Hoo, said in a statement: “Beach hut rental prices remain robust and…[are] likely to climb considerably over the coming months. It also seems as though demand for beach huts is pushing up prices as holidaymakers invest in their own piece of beach hut bricks and mortar.

“A 41% uplift in the last year alone is pretty considerable although as with any property investment, location is key when it comes to both the price achieved and the property’s rental potential.”

Read: Demand may exceed supply as CEO of one of the world’s biggest hotel groups sees ‘surge’ in bookings

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