posted on 12 January 2022, updated on 12 January 2022
The House of Commons Library has published a debating paper on second homes and holiday-lets in rural communities. In July 2020, the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) produced a fact sheet on second homes, and the characteristics of the people owning them. These figures were based on estimates from the English Housing Survey (EHS).
In 2018/19, an estimated 772,000 households reported having second homes. The EHS defines these as "homes that are primarily used as holiday homes (by family, friends or let to others as a holiday let) or are occupied while working away from home."
Some households have multiple second homes. In total, the EHS estimates that English households owned 873,000 second homes, of which 495,000 were second homes located in the UK. Some local-authority level data on second home ownership is available from council tax records. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) explored this data in a report published in September 2021.
The impact of second homes on local communities is complex and multi-faceted. On the one hand, there are concerns that where the number of second homes comprises a significant proportion of the housing market, it can reduce housing supply and push up house prices to unaffordable levels for local people. A high number of second homes which remain empty for long periods may also impact on local services and community cohesion.
On the other hand, if second homes are used regularly as holiday homes they may boost local economies and the tourism trade, or a second home may enable someone to work in and contribute to the local economy of an area, while being able to return to a family home in another part of the country on a regular basis.