Issues in property management: Caravan parks- Housing on the fringe- The Frankston view
Date of this Version
Whilst investment pressure from excess funds generated by compulsory superannuation contributions is creating opportunity for major international investment in property, at the current extreme of the property investment continuum lies the caravan park. Here, owners and investors also seek a positive return on investment but are stymied by a complex web of concerns which differ in character, though sometimes not in substance, from those of better recognised property investment vehicles.
Across Australia ownership of such parks is widely distributed amongst generally small investors many of whom are owner-operators of the park. This piecemeal pattern of ownership and the very broad range of business operations which are encompassed by the term ‘caravan park’ create a series of challenges from the perspective of the management of the property asset with the interests of park operators, the residents and statutory interests often pulling in different directions.
Caravan park operators face a range of physical, operational and financial property management pressures but frequently lack the resources to employ professionals skilled in the property aspects of the business. Their immediate clients may comprise a hybrid of tourist and residential occupants with somewhat non-compatible expectations. In addition, the contribution of often unclear tenure and, particularly in well-located coastal environments, an inexorable pressure for higher order use through redevelopment also add to the complexity of issues.
After providing some background to the industry, this paper will identify and discuss a number of the pressures which impinge upon the property management aspects of the caravan park asset. It draws upon a comprehensive range of recent literature and is informed by empirical illustration from an established caravan park in Victoria which is identified (fictitiously) as The Frankston Caravan Park.