More than five million Brits now own a second home – either to live in themselves or as buy-to-let landlords, according to new figures.
Think tank the Resolution Foundation found that between 2000 to 2002 and 2012 to 2014 the number of people owning additional properties soared by 30% – up from 1.6 million to 5.2 million.
The group who are most likely to be additional homeowners are baby boomers, currently aged 52 to 71. Baby boomers own 52% of all the wealth held in additional properties – with the majority living in the South.
“Contrary to the popular narrative, these second homeowners are rarely your typical middle-income worker shoring up savings or ordinary retiree boosting pension income. They tend to be baby boomers who are very wealthy indeed relative to their peers, living in the South and East of England,” says Laura Gardiner, the foundation’s senior policy analyst.
But the foundation found that while one in 10 adults has more than one property, some 40% don’t own a home at all – up from 35% between 2000 and 2002 and the same level as in 1993 to 1995.
In contrast to baby boomer homeowners, Generation X, currently aged 37 to 51, accounts for 25% of wealth from multiple properties, while millennials, who were born since 1981, own just 3% of multiple properties and are the first group since records began to have fewer properties than previous generations of the same age owned.
“Homeownership should not become the preserve of the wealthy”
Ms Gardiner says: “People with second homes not only have an investment that they can turn to in times of need – for instance, in later life when care is required – but if the property is rented out, they also see a boost to their incomes here and now.
“With young people much less likely to own a home at all than their predecessors at the same age, the growing concentration of property wealth among fewer families raises concerns not just for their living standards but for wealth inequality of our country as a whole.”
Since April 2016, second homes have attracted an additional 3% stamp duty tax and mortgage tax relief for buy-to-let landlords is being phased out, but Ms Gardiner believes further measures are needed.
“Policy makers should consider what more can be done to ensure that homeownership doesn’t become the preserve of the wealthy for generations to come,” she adds.