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The Holiday Home Dream Is Dying

In 2021, 447,000 people had a holiday home where they spent more than 30 days – up 4.7 per cent in ten years. 

That’s 0.76 per cent of people in England and 0.56 per cent of people in Wales.

Some 77 per cent of them were aged 50 years and over, and they're getting older: the peak age of holiday home use was 64 in 2011 and 73 in 2021.


Most holiday homes are outside the UK, but the gap is closing as the number spending time in a UK holiday home is growing – from 180,000 in 2011 to 217,000 in 2021, and the number spending time in a holiday home elsewhere is falling – from 246,000 in 2011 to 230,000 in 2021.

These figures are taken from the most recent Census.

For younger people, the dream of owning a holiday home is dying. It’s hard enough to imagine being able to afford a property of their own, let alone the outlandish possibility of buying a second property. 

More people have a holiday home than ten years ago, but those who own them are getting older.

Less than one per cent of people in England and Wales have a holiday home, and over the past decade, owners have become much older. Now more than three quarters of them are over the age of 50, and the peak age to have a holiday home has risen from 64 to 73 in ten years. 

This looks distinctly like there’s a specific cohort of people who were able to buy a holiday home when it was far more affordable and are now ageing.

For younger people, the runaway price of property has made it far harder to get onto the property ladder, let alone consider a holiday home. 

The number of people aged 20, 30, 40, 50 and 60 with holiday homes has fallen over the past decade, while the number of people aged 70 who have them has risen. 

In 2021, a 70-year-old was almost 11 times more likely to own a holiday home than a 30-year-old, while ten years earlier they were only around six times more likely.

The age of holiday home owners may be part of the reason why we’re not keen to buy a bolthole at the other end of the country, where a trip would be more taxing. 

The average distance between a usual address and holiday home in the UK was 145.7km. Half were within 112.9km.

We’re also retreating from overseas properties, which may be because as holiday home owners age, they don’t want to have to travel so much and so far. 

Brexit may have played a role, not least because currency movements and lower mortgage availability will have made buying and staying overseas more expensive. 

There may also be those who were unable to use a property for periods during the pandemic, and felt it wasn’t worth the expense.

* Sarah Coles is head of personal finance at business consultancy Hargreaves Lansdown *

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    The young are in a worse position than most of the past generations, we are ensuring that they live a life of servitude. Shameless.


    Sorry I don't really agree there Simon, times have changed, work and life are different now, but a lot of the young now are work shy and want to get away with the minimum amount of work as possible, long long ago when I was an employee if there was overtime offered we took it, we worked evenings after the day job, weekends, bank holidays, you can sit on the side lines in life, or you can get out there and better yourself, all too many now want it all for free


    In the last six years 14 of my tenants have bought. Nearly all of them were under 30. Most used the HTB scheme. All bought houses not flats. Most of those houses had either 3 or 4 bedrooms. When else in history have FTBs been able to buy the traditional 3rd rung on the ladder as their starter home?


    In Norwich it used to be that 90% of FTBs bought the 2 bed Victorian terraced houses, then after a few yrs moving onto the little semi detached bungalows in the suburbs, now they want the 3/4 bed new builds as their first homes, whatever happened to starting at the bottom and working the way up

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    Well I can only give comments on the young people I meet .. my kids and those of my friends, and they don’t fit your view. The total lack of any meaningful house building over the past 40 years, coupled with a 10 million plus increase in our population has brought us to where we are, people scrapping for a home with prices going well beyond what was considered a normal multiple of their salary in the past. It was so avoidable.


    Simon I wasn't referring to ALL the young, but certainly a good number of them

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    The extra 3% SDLT if you own another property anywhere in the world is an added complication. Previously it was OK for someone to buy a cheap holiday home for less than the price of a second hand car in Bulgaria, France, Spain, etc but now it would cause very expensive problems when they wanted to buy their first UK property. No FTB freebies and extra SDLT.

    Covid travel restrictions will have put some people off. Property ownership is a big responsibility and being legally banned from visiting or maintaining a property has all sorts of implications with insurance companies.

    Holiday home ownership is becoming contentious in several countries as it is perceived to deny local families a home. Even France is beginning to make anti holiday home noises, although many towns and villages have numerous abandoned houses that the French don't seem to want to do up and live in themselves.

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    Well you can’t talk about not building enough housing without factoring in the Single Parent Family, now rampant and virtually has phased out the Married Family Unit.
    Ok tell me how the Marriage figures has fallen on the back of the rampant rise in housing Benefit Single Parent Family, of course there will be a sleeping partner who can bump up the Rents to out bid working people.
    Anyway it’s a massive Bill at £23.1 billion for Housing Benefit claimants. So no hope of them buying when they have it all already, some chance of getting them saddled with a 30 year Mortgage are you having a laugh.


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