The buy-to-let boom over the past 20 years has contributed significantly to the number of people who own second homes.
More than one in 10 people in Britain own second homes, buy-to-let and overseas properties worth a total of £941bn, a study has found.
Research by the Resolution Foundation think tank, funded by the Nuffield Foundation, said the latest data, compiled for the years 2014 to 2016, shows that the proportion of adults who live in a family with property other than their main residence increase 7.9% from 3.6 million people in 2001 to 11.2%, or 5.5 million people.
Buy-to-let property is now the most common form of property wealth, having grown by 58% since 2006-08, the report found.
Buy-to-let property accounts for the largest group of additional property owners - 1.9 million people. This is followed by second homes (1.4 million), and then overseas property (970,000 people).
Looking at change over time, the biggest component of the increase in additional property ownership from 2008-10 to 2014-16 was in buy-to-let properties, the report found.
The number of people owning buy-to-let property rose by more than 50% over this eight-year period.
According to the report, the number of buy-to-let mortgages has increased 15 times since 2000.
Three major reasons for owning additional property were providing rental income, giving security in retirement and passing on wealth to younger relatives.
“The sheer scale of additional property wealth is an important driver of rising wealth gaps across Britain,” said George Bangham, policy analyst at the Resolution Foundation.
But the research suggests that only wealthy people can now afford a second home - a sign, according to the foundation, that property wealth is not distributed fairly across the country.
Additional properties accounted for 15.8% of the total £6tn of overall property wealth held by households in Great Britain in 2014-16.
Additional property wealth is accumulated over time and is most common among older generations, said the report.
Around one-in-six baby boomers - those born in the 1950s - had additional property wealth in their family in 2014-16.
Bangham added: “As the huge stock of second homes, buy-to-let and overseas properties starts to be passed on to younger generations, Britain risks becoming a country where getting ahead in life depends as much on what you inherit, as what you earn.”
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