65 per cent increase in liveaboard vessels

A UK marine finance provider has reported a 65 per cent increase in the number of liveaboard vessels in the two years since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. Promarine Finance, an independent company that offers marine mortgages to finance leisure craft, has reported the increase in liveaboards and indicates it is a likely reaction to soaring property prices.

‘Homebuyers are swapping traditional homes for liveaboard vessels as the housing market hits record highs, the cost of living soars and purchasers look for alternative ways of living without compromising a step on the housing ladder,’ the company says.

“It’s great to see such consistent growth when reflecting on the last two years since the pandemic started,” says Stuart Austin, director of Promarine Finance. “It’s clear there is a real trend of people choosing to live on vessels over traditional homes whether that’s due to the rising cost of living, a way to get on the housing ladder or simply as an alternative lifestyle.

“We are the only company financing liveaboards and I think a big part of our growth is our willingness to offer early settlements without penalty which offers true flexibility.”

According to Promarine, the House Price Index data from November 2021 states that the average UK property cost was £270,708 and for London this was £519,934. In comparison, the average cost of a narrowboat is £57,000 with more modern boats up to £150,000. While there are further fees of residential mooring, a Boat Safety Scheme (BSS) certificate, and insurance, if the boat is maintained, it will hold its value.

In October 2021, Promarine reported a 45 per cent growth in Q3 compared to the same period in 2020 – with liveaboards proving key.

Speaking at the time, Austin said: “In 2020 we saw in the demand for boat finance for liveaboard vessels which demonstrated how behaviours were changing during the pandemic. However, this has continued to increase and shows what could be seen as a permanent shift towards liveaboard living. July 2021 saw an incredible increase of 250 per cent compared with July 2020 and September saw a 100 per cent increase compared with September 2020.

“Although some people were purchasing boats in 2020 for leisure due to not being able to go on holiday abroad, it’s the popularity of people wanting liveaboard vessels for residential use which is really accelerating. We’re now seeing buyers purchase liveaboard vessels across the country, and not just in city centres, as an alternative and more cost-effective way of living.”

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