Generations of fledgling holiday-makers once flocked to the Yorkshire coast, but in the seventies and eighties its resorts fell on hard times as tourists opted for more exotic climes. However, while Scarborough "got stuck in the sixties", the resort is slowly improving and the local authority is working hard to improve its image, says Drew Edwards, assistant director in the Leeds office of property agent Chesterton. Visitors are also rediscovering Bridlington, "a nice resort town", popular with families.
The chief hot spot is Whitby and its environs, which continues to go from strength to strength. The seaside town has the moors on its doorstep and good quality country hotels on the moors are always in demand but come up very rarely.
At the lower end of the scale, says Edwards "there are opportunities for operators with a bit of nous to get a nice little earner" as the pubcos churn their estates and offload "beat-up corner pubs".
There's a dearth of good quality freehold sites, and they usually get snapped up very quickly by the major chains, says Edwards. But the area has some excellent, high-profit, high-volume leasehold businesses with £300,000-plus annual turnover with food. And lower-end leasehold businesses can be had for £25,000 "with change".
Buying a pub with a strong food offering, or being prepared to build one up, is key, says Edwards, as about 90% of the pubs in North Yorkshire do food and would struggle without it. Edwards recommends pub-restaurants with rooms rather than traditional hotels. Demand for older-style hotel stock, which often lacks facilities like en suite bedrooms, is usually from developers who convert them to residential use.