According to the Survey of English Housing 2006/07, 582,000 households in England now claim to have a second home either in the UK or overseas.
The number of second homes in England is now estimated to stand at 241,000 (based on the three year moving average for the period 2004/05 to 2006/07). This number has been largely unchanged over the past few years, having risen from around 200,000 in 1996/97.
By contrast the number of English households with second homes abroad has more than doubled from 115,000 in 1996/97 to 248,000 in 2006/07 with most of this increase being witnessed in the last three years.
In terms of Local Authority ranking there has been little change in the top five positions since 2004/05. The City of London continues to top the list of second homes as a percentage of total housing stock, with 26.1% placed there by the demands of city workers.
The next three places go to regions known for their attraction as tourist destinations with the Isles of Scilly having fallen slightly by two per cent since 2004/05 to 19.5%, South Hams in Devon stays third on 10.1% and North Cornwall remains fourth on 9.7%. Westminster has dropped from fifth place in 2004/05 when it had 9.7% of its housing stock classified as a second home, to ninth position on 7.8%, its place being taken by another tourist destination, North Norfolk on 9.5%.
Second homes account for 1.8% of housing in rural areas. This is nearly five times higher than in urban areas where only 0.4% of the housing stock is second homes.
Argyll & Bute in Scotland and South Hams in Devon are the rural local authorities with the highest proportions of second homes in Great Britain. Second homes account for 11% of all homes in Argyll & Bute and South Hams. North Cornwall, Gwynedd and South Lakeland (all 8%), have the next highest proportions of second homes.
Source: Knight Frank