A recent study of homeowners by Nationwide has found that 10% already own a second property in the UK, and a further 14% would consider buying a second property here. If all these people owned a second property, nearly 1 in 4 people would have a second home in the British Isles, the report concludes.

The most popular reason cited for buying a second property was for buy-to-let purposes, (55%), while almost one third of those asked purchased their home for personal use and 7% let out the house as a holiday home.

Important factors when considering purchasing a second home include:

  • The prospect of good letting opportunities
  • The prospect of strong house price growth
  • The proximity to shops and entertainment
  • Being close to relatives
  • Being on the coast
  • Being in an area of natural beauty
  • The most popular place to buy a second home, says the report, is in the South East of England, in locations such as Hampshire or Kent. These areas are closely followed by the South West, particularly Cornwall and Devon.

    Nationwide economist Martin Gahbauer said: ?Purchasers of second homes ? be they for personal use or to let out – are an important source of housing demand and have probably helped to push up prices in many areas of the country. However, current market conditions may have an impact on this part of the housing market.

    However, where second home buyers will have reserves of cash to draw on when purchasing, first time buyers are not so lucky, continued Mr Gahbauer: ?While second home buyers will often be able to draw on large house price gains from the past decade, this advantage is not available to local first time buyers, who face challenges in their attempts to get on the housing ladder. One must not forget, however, that second home buyers also make important contributions to the local economy through their support of local businesses.?

    To search for your perfect second home, log onto www.countrylife.co.uk/property for all the best country houses on the market, all over the country.