Let’s start by running through the reasons that people buy a second home…
“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
“Many people want a second home for '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 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 or holiday home 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
Which areas in the UK are popular right now?
“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 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 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 out to holidaymakers, either. 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
And what about abroad?
“The number of Brits searching for property in France and Spain has risen by 48% since 2014, according to data from Rightmove, with France being the most popular country in the world for Brits buying abroad. The proximity means that weekend visits are possible, especially in northern areas such as Normandy and Brittany. Other popular areas include Provence, the French Riviera and the Dordogne. House prices in France have been falling steadily over the past few years. This fact, coupled with cheap long-term mortgages and a weak Euro, means that this might be the perfect time to take the plunge. Meanwhile, the cheaper cost of living, strong expat communities and guaranteed sun make Spain a very desirable destination, too. Popular areas also include the Costa Blanca, Costa del Sol and Barcelona. In Italy, Tuscany and Umbria are still in high demand, but Portugal – especially the Algarve and Lisbon – are proving popular. Finally, the US has always been popular for Brits, and despite the huge travel time, a surprising number of Brits are choosing to own a holiday home there. The most popular areas are coastal resorts in California and Florida – the latter especially popular with people coming up to retirement age.” – the Wise team