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Your Shout: The rural hotel as lifestyle choice

14 February 2005 by
Your Shout: The rural hotel as lifestyle choice
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by Graeme Smith of Christie & Co, Glasgow
Now is the time that many prospective buyers decide to become their own boss and operate their own business. Last year was an extremely successful year and these strengths look set to continue, especially in the hotel and guesthouse market. Throughout 2004 the market showed significant growth in prices, particularly in the rural sectors, in areas such as Dumfries and Argyll. As in late 2003, there was a continuation of non-local buyers looking to operate a hotel or guesthouse in the rural areas of Scotland, with particular interest generated from south of the border, where the idea of a "lifestyle" business has a strong magnetism. Although there were signs of the residential house market levelling, buyers were still deciding to move, and while certain deals were taking slightly longer to conclude, sale prices way above the asking were being achieved. Being your own boss and working as a family unit means guesthouses can offer a home as well as an income and, with high property values, deals can be done quickly and cleanly. Unlike several years ago, lenders are looking more favourably on businesses that trade below the VAT threshold but can offer a lifestyle change. The rural hotel market has also benefited from the influx of non-local buyers, with serious interest generated from all over the UK from both private and multiple operators. We look forward to another busy year. With the smoking ban at the back of everyone's mind, many businesses are already taking appropriate measures and looking positively toward 2006. If there was ever a time to think about the possibility of selling a rural hotel or guesthouse, now would be it.
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