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News: Soaring number of second homes jumping on staycation bandwagon

Tue, 20 Apr 21

The number of second homes in the UK has risen 30 per cent over the last five years, according to a lettings platform.

Houst has conducted research using figures from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government to show there was a record high 495,000 second homes in 2018/19 (the latest data available), up from 382,000 in 2013/14.

Some 451,000 of the 495,000, or 91 per cent of those second homes are located in England.

Houst says that rising incomes, property’s status as an asset class with  steadily rising prices, and the shift to more flexible and remote working are likely to have been the main reasons behind the rise in second home ownership over the period. 

The rise could also have been driven in part by the reduced value of the pound since the Brexit referendum, making it more cost-effective to purchase property in the UK rather than in Europe.

Houst also explains that the last decade has seen a boom in the use of technology-driven property lettings companies, such as Airbnb, which have made it more attractive and far easier for second home owners to generate income from second residences.

Tom Jones, co-founder and chief commercial officer of Houst, says: “The likes of Airbnb and other platforms have revolutionised second home ownership and have certainly been one of the main driving forces behind second home ownership. Owners are now able to generate income from their second home extremely easily, almost all year round.”

“One of the things, however, that second home owners still struggle with is the administration behind second homes. With staycations on the rise - even pre-pandemic - it’s almost like a second full-time job. Owners are constantly checking emails and enquiries from all the different platforms, ensuring the property is clean and ready for renters, and always looking ahead for opportunities to let out their properties.”

He continues: “The restrictions on travel over the past year will have seen many second home owners debate the next steps for their second homes. Those that decide to continue letting properties - rather than selling or moving into them on a more permanent basis - will need to ensure they’re squeezing every pound out of their property.”

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