Second homes boom continues as pandemic reshapes residential market

While the end of the stamp duty holiday will cause seasonal patterns will re-establish themselves, "demand remains high and supply stubbornly tight" suggesting a gradual process of normalisation, according to new research from Knight Frank.

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Rozi Jones
27th September 2021
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"Being told to work from home has enabled people to realise their lifestyle ambitions via a second home"

However, its data shows that the second homes boom that began after the first lockdown in 2020 isn’t over and more buyers than ever have opted for the attractions of a second home, motivated by a series of lockdowns.

Consistent with reports of a booming second homes market in South West England during the year of the staycation, the number of transactions liable for the second home 3% stamp duty surcharge hit a new high of 84,700 in the second quarter of this year.

The number will also include buy to let investors taking advantage of the stamp duty holiday but it is nevertheless the single largest quarterly figure since the Higher Rates for Additional Dwellings (HRAD) surcharge was introduced in 2016.

The second homes surcharge contributed £485m of the £2.06bn of residential stamp duty collected in Q2 2021, which was the largest slice (24%) on record. It was also the largest contribution by value since Q4 2017.

Second home purchases outside of London increased by 83% in the first eight months of 2021 compared to the five-year average, according to Knight Frank data. The rise was in the Central region was 58% over the same period, bolstered by a recent focus on the Chipping Norton region of the Cotswolds in the TV show Clarkson’s Farm.

Meanwhile, second home purchases in the South West, which is more of a traditional target, doubled in the same period.

It is not just a UK phenomenon. According to Knight Frank’s Global Buyers Survey 2021, 33% or international buyers are more likely to buy a second home as a result of Covid-19. However, consistent across borders is the current challenge of matching supply with demand – something that will support pricing but could limit volume.

Mark Proctor, head of the South West region at Knight Frank, said: “I’m not surprised people have been much more driven to purchase. They were unable to travel overseas last year, and the lack of freedom of movement left many wanting somewhere to retreat to outside of cities.

“Being told to work from home has enabled people to realise their lifestyle ambitions via a second home, and with the equity that’s built up in the London and the South East property markets over the longer term, that five-year plan to buy a second home has come forward considerably for many buyers.”


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