First, why might people want to buy a second holiday home?
“Many people want a second home to be 'mixed-use' i.e. they'd like to get a bit of rental income, but also use it for themselves and their friends and family. Of course, if the value increases with time, this is also a bonus. It can be difficult to find all of these elements in equal measure, so you will need to decide what is most important to you – it will make the process much simpler. If you’re looking for a rental investment, you might have different priorities than if you are just looking for a retreat for your own use. If gaining capital is your main interest, then it's likely you will choose a different destination than if it were for a retirement pad, for example.” – the Towergate Insurance team
How and where should you start the search?
“The first thing to establish is why you’re buying. Do you want a second home for you and your family to enjoy together year after year, and then pass on to the next generation as a legacy investment? Or are you seeking a steady income stream from a property that you want to let out now, and eventually sell on for a profit? If you fall into the first camp, it’s likely the property will be a more emotional purchase. Second home buyers tend to focus on areas they already know and love, perhaps because they’ve been there on holiday and want to put down some roots.” – Jonathan Hopper, CEO, Garrington Property Finders
“Your choice of holiday home ultimately depends on what you want from the property but being familiar with the area certainly helps, too. Access is one of the most important factors when considering where to buy a second home. Look into transportation services to the area, think about the road and rail systems and whether low-cost airlines operate in the area. Where you buy will depend on what kind of surroundings you are looking for, so consider the nightlife, food, scenery and so forth. And don't forget the weather – some places have good weather all year round, but some have low seasons where the shops and restaurants close down.” – the Towergate Insurance team
Are there any areas which are always popular?
“Many Londoners go south to Kent for an easy-access weekend getaway. The seaside towns of Margate and Broadstairs offer a mix of seaside nostalgia and a burgeoning café culture, with the bonus of fast, direct trains to London. Heading east out of London, the Suffolk Coast and Heaths is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty just a few miles from Ipswich, which also has fast train connections to London. Cornwall tops many people’s list of UK summer holiday destinations and it’s a hotspot for holiday homes. There’s a huge demand for self-catering accommodation, so you won’t struggle to rent your property to holidaymakers, either. Cornwall’s next-door neighbour, Devon is just as popular and a little closer to the rest of the country, while Salcombe has been voted the UK’s favourite coastal town. For vast windswept beaches, look to the north Norfolk coast or the north-east county of Northumberland. It may not have the look or feel of the Mediterranean, but its raw beauty is second-to-none. The rolling hills of the Cotswolds are the home of the quintessential English country cottage – if you want to make money from your second home investment, a holiday home here can generate up to £40,000 of income a year.” – the Strutt & Parker team
Does a holiday home always constitute a good investment?
“Holiday homes have become a popular investment for two key reasons. First, a property in a holiday hotspot can command high weekly rates. Second, it offers a home away from home for your family whenever the property is empty. During peak season (six weeks in the summer and two weeks over Christmas) rental prices can offset the running costs incurred during the other 44 weeks of the year. That said, holiday homes bring their own share of disadvantages, too. They can cost more in terms of upkeep and maintenance than other buy-to-let properties and you may need to enlist the help of a managing agency. The more you depend on the rental income to support your own financial situation will impact how you market the property. It’s up to you to decide whether the financial reward is worth the extra hassle.” – the Zurich team