South West benefits from boom in second home ownership, research shows

by Ray Clancy on July 12, 2011

Southwestern UK favored for second homes

Staycations and a new way of holidaying pushed second home ownership in the South West of the UK to a new record high last year, despite the slide in transactions in the wider housing market, according to a new report.

Second home ownership in England was at the second highest level on record in 2010, despite slipping slightly from 2009 levels, a fall led by the decrease in second homes in London, the Knight Frank 2011 New Build Second Homes report shows.

Demand for larger houses has risen strongly over the past twelve months as more families choose ‘generational’ holidays, with grandparents, children and grandchildren staying in the same holiday property, it points out.

The demand for larger homes from holidaymakers wanting to do the same means investors have also become more interested in more spacious properties.

Illustrating this trend, sales of newly developed three bedroom houses by Knight Frank in the South West trebled in the year to June, compared to the previous 12 months.

The research also found that demand for holiday lets in the South West was up 70% in the early months of the year compared to the same period in 2010.

The neighborhood with the most second homes in Leysdown on Sea, on the Isle of Sheppey in Kent, where chalets and holiday homes make up nearly two thirds of all houses in the area. Nearly half of all homes in Trebetherick area of Polzeath in North Cornwall are second homes.

‘The staycation trend seen in recent years looks set to continue as the weak pound makes the option of holidaying abroad or buying a home overseas seem less attractive. Instead, buyers are choosing a second home in the UK. The possibility of letting out the property when they are not staying also means that it becomes an investment as well as a luxury,’ said Gráinne Gilmore, head of UK residential research at Knight Frank.

‘As more families choose to stay in the UK rather than jetting overseas, there is an increasing focus of generational family holidays, with grandparents joining their children and grandchildren on holiday,’ she explained.

‘This in turn has pushed up demand for larger properties from both buyers and investors, especially houses with three or more bedrooms, so that there is enough space for the extended family to spread out,’ she added.

However, draughty cottages or homes with faded interiors will not pass muster. ‘Families want to holiday in a property which is finished to a very high standard with all the mod cons, making new build houses more attractive,’ said Gilmore.

‘The South West dominates the UK domestic tourism market, with plenty of popular holiday destinations such as Padstow, South Hams or St Agnes. The area is also well served in terms of transport with regular flights to Exeter, Plymouth and Newquay airports as well as trains from London and other major cities in the UK,’ she added.

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