Staycation summer has seen demand soar for Felixstowe beach huts
- Credit: Charlotte Bond/Archant
Life's a beach hut! As the current mini-heatwave sees families flocking to the seaside, Felixstowe chalets are more in demand than ever.
Two beach huts in the resort each sold for a record-breaking £88,000 this summer, more than the price of some flats - and people are telling of their love for the resort's colourful mini-homes.
One recent survey suggested demand for beach huts had surged by 260% in six months, as more Brits plan staycations rather than travelling abroad.
Charlie Papworth, of Diamond Mills estate agents in Felixstowe, said: "Demand is really high partly because of the pandemic, with people not being able to go abroad. It's like a sort of compromise, but a nice compromise."
The agency sold a hut close to the Fludyers Hotel for a then record-breaking £65,000 in May, within hours of it going on sale.
"Then we sold two more near the Fludyers for £88,000 each - I think that's more than the price of some flats in Ipswich," he said.
However, Mr Papworth added that not all beach huts fetch this kind of price - and prices in Felixstowe are still far more reasonable than in some other areas, including the South Coast.
Diamond Mills currently has a hut at Brackenbury Cliffs for £50,000 and another near the Spa Pavilion for £49,000, but it is also offering a number of others from £18,000 upwards.
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He added that reasons for buying huts vary. "Some people want to get one for the family to enjoy, some simply want to make a bit of a retirement investment, and some want to rent them out."
Beach huts have also soared in popularity as a theme for Instagram, with the hashtag #beachhuts being used on more than 230,000 posts so far.
Friends Joy Reeve shares what is probably Felixstowe's best-known beach hut with her friend Karen Kenny, and it is also used by their friends and families.
The hut, which was named by Joy's grandson, won the title British Beach Hut of the Year in 2017.
As well as making the most of the hut in the summer, the friends use the hut as their base for fundraising in winter, selling coffee and cakes to people visiting the beach.
In November the two friends will be opening up the hut in aid of Guide Dogs, after last year they raised more than £5,600 for Parkinsons UK.
Joy said: "My beach hut is my most important possession - it's very precious.
"It was bought for me by my dad, so that I could have the same enjoyment of my grandchildren at the beach as my mum and dad had with my children when they were little.
"More people have been using beach huts this year because they are going on holiday in the UK and not going abroad.
"I love my hut. It's just that feeling of peace, of getting away from the stress and strain of everyday life."
Joy added beach huts help families to enjoy the beach, whatever the weather.
"My two granddaughters were staying with me for a few days around the bank holiday weekend and we went down there for breakfast.
"The weather was pretty grim really, but they so enjoyed it, and went in the water. They love it -and it's nothing to do with phones or Facebook."
Karen said: "Our beach hut is the best used in Britain, because we use it all the year round.
"This year it has been nice because we have seen more people using the huts and opening them up than in the past couple of years.
While the soaring prices may be testament to the huts' popularity, Karen said she was concerned they were now being priced out of the reach of many families.
"Beach huts are such a wonderful thing for families - they just get down there and have all the facilities. It's beautiful for families."