2million Britons have two homes BUT property crash might put many in jeopardy


Last updated at 01:24 25 January 2008

Property for sale

More than two million

people own a second home

in Britain, official figures

revealed for the first time


They show 5 per cent of the

adult population have a family

home and at least one

other property.

The figures, compiled by the

Office for National Statistics,

show the extraordinary wealth

which is tied up in housing.

But experts said they also

highlight the risks homeowners

face if there is a property crash.

The second homes are typically

a country house for those who

live in a city, or a town house for

those living in the countryside.

A rising number own a buy-tolet

property, typically a flat in a

city centre.

Those who live in the South-

East are most likely to be among

the 2.1million with more than

one property.

Seven per cent of adults in the

region own a second home, compared

with only 3 per cent in the

North-East, North-West and the


The most common locations

for second homes include the

coasts of Norfolk and Cornwall

and Devon, all of which attract

large number of families during

the school holidays.

Another popular location is

Central London, typically for a

flat or small house used by a

working couple whose family

home is in the countryside.

A recent report by the estateagents Savills found such homebuyers

are most likely to be professionals

in their forties, such as

lawyers and doctors, or those

who work in the financial services


Others are in the fortunate

position of inheriting a home

from their parents, grandparents,

other family members or


The figures are particularly

high because if a married couple

own a second home together, the

husband and wife are counted


The ONS's Wealth and Assets

Survey also shows hundreds of

thousands own a second, or even

third, home overseas.

Two per cent of adults – nearly

850,000 – own land or property


There is likely to be significant

overlap between the differentfigures as many Britons own several

homes here and overseas.

The most common locations are

Spain, France and Florida.

The report, by the accountants

Grant Thornton and Lombard

Street Research, predicts the

number of Britons who own asecond home overseas will soar

to two million by 2025.

It reveals

two typical types of second

homeowners – pensioners who

like to spend the winter overseas

and wealthy Britons over the age

of 45.

The soaring price of property

here is the reason people can afford homes overseas. Since

1996, the price of the average

home has jumped from about

£60,000 to £180,000.

Many Britons are living in

homes worth £300,000 and are

able to buy a flat in a Spanish

apartment block on the coast for

a third of this price.

The boom in cheap flights with

no-frills airlines has also helped,

making it easy to visit a second

home in Europe for weekends,

not just longer holidays.

But the figures also highlight

homeowners' exposure to risk if

property prices plunge.

Most experts predict house

prices will be frozen this year.

But the most pessimistic forecast,

from Capital Economics, expects a fall of 5 per cent this

year followed by an 8 per cent fall

in 2009.