As many as 211,000 households now own a second property outside of the UK, of which 34% are in Spain and 23% in France. Italy and Portugal each accounted for 2% of England?s second home ownership abroad, while 16% owned houses in what was termed ?other European countries?. The US was the most popular non-European location, while 17% own houses in other non-European countries.

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The study , carried out for the Department of Communities and Local Government also found that the number of English people buying a property abroad has risen by more than 60% from 129,000 in 2000/2001 to 211,000 last year. It also says that 60% of these buyers are aged between 45-64, and possibly looking to move abroad for retirement.

The problem with tracking home ownership is that sources of data can differ hugely: The Office of National Statistics figures differ greatly from Mintel research which differ again from research for big estate agents like Knight Frank. This Government study is seen as a reliable source of information on the subject.

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