Households pay a significant premium to leave homes unoccupied for over third of the year.
The average Brit spends the equivalent of 138 days a year away from their rented or owned property, whilst out at work or socialising, according to new research by Privilege Home Insurance.
The study looked at what people spend on rent or mortgage and bills each month and contrasted this with how much time they actually spend in their home each week.
The figures show the average adult spends nine hours and four minutes out of their home costing them £4,292 a year, the same as seven months’ average rent or mortgage. This equates to 38% of people’s time when their home is standing empty.
Henry Pryor, buying agent and property commentator, says the question for householders should not be not whether it is cheaper to buy or rent, but how much time they spend in their homes.
“Although there is a trend towards more people working from home, there are many who leave for eight-hour shifts at work, or longer, and really only go home to bed once social commitments have been allowed for,” says Mr Pryor.
But attachment to material goods and the memories associated with homes may mean the way people view them psychologically will take generations to change.
Those aged 18 to 34 are paying out the largest sums to keep their homes empty as they spend the most time out of the house - over 10 hours a day. They shell out £412 a month to keep their home empty.
Over 55s who spend more time at home, and only seven hours a day out of the house on average, spend £288.
Meanwhile 35- to 54-year-olds, who have higher monthly outgoings, spend £388 on an empty property, which they leave empty for around nine hours a day.
Christian Mendes, head of Privilege Home Insurance, says: “As the pressures of modern life increase and everyone feels like they are working harder for longer, we thought it would be interesting to find out how much people are really paying to keep a roof over their heads.”
The study has led Mr Pryor to suggest that it is time to rethink how we use and finance our homes.
He adds: “Might we one day think of housing as we do cars and rent them either for the journey, like Uber or Zip Car, or just for the finance cost rather than as an asset?”