Author : Marry-Anne Bowring
The latest figures released by the Office for National Statistics reveal that there has been an increase in the number of holiday homes. This inference has been made based on the results of the 2021 Census. Among the regions in England and Wales, the South West had the highest concentration of holiday homes, with 7.5 for every 1,000 homes.
Wales came next, with 6.9-holiday homes for every 1,000 homes.
On the other hand, London had the lowest number of holiday homes, with only 0.6 per 1,000 homes. The number of holiday homes was even higher in areas that have gained popularity as tourist destinations. In the South Hams area of Devon, there is a particularly high rate of holiday homes. For every 1,000 homes in this area, there are 44.1-holiday homes, making it the local authority area with the highest concentration of holiday homes in England and Wales.
South Hams is known for its extensive coastline and is located in the southern part of Dartmoor National Park and the South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Gwynedd in North Wales followed closely with 41.0-holiday homes per 1,000 homes. Other areas with high concentrations of holiday homes included North Norfolk and the Isle of Anglesey.
Within these local authorities, certain areas had even higher concentrations of holiday homes.
For example, in specific parts of South Hams like Salcombe, Marlborough, and Thurlestone, there were 171.9-holiday homes per 1,000 homes. Similarly, in Abersoch and Aberdaron in Gwynedd, the figure was 153.3 holiday homes per 1,000 homes. There were seven areas in England and Wales where more than 1 in 10 homes were used as holiday homes. These included Cornwall, Trebetherick, Whitecross, Padstow, and St Issey. King's Lynn and West Norfolk and Hunstanton, North Norfolk, Wells, and Blakeney also had high concentrations of holiday homes.
Most of these areas with high concentrations of holiday homes were located in coastal regions or near national parks.
It's important to note that the survey was conducted in 2021 when some COVID-related travel restrictions were in place. The data also indicate a significant increase in staycations, where people choose to vacation within their own country. The problematic thing for the Local Authorities in these areas is depleted council tax receipts and increased users of council services, as well as the depleted number of homes available for rent. Arguably increased demand from second-home buyers drives prices higher making it harder for locals to get onto the housing ladder.
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