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Revealed – where are the top holiday home destinations in the UK?

Estate agent Martin & Co has analysed Google search data to reveal the most searched for holiday home destinations across the UK.

Since lockdown started to be eased, staycations across the UK have boomed as holidaymakers opted to make the most of what the UK has to offer rather than risk going abroad and having to quarantine when they return.

Martin & Co, which has a national network of over 160 offices, wanted to highlight the trending hotspots and locations where homeowners might see the best return on their investment. 

It discovered that Google searches for holiday homes across the UK have increased by 141% in the past year, with tourist hotspot Cornwall the most searched for holiday home destination. In June 2020 alone, the coastal region garnered 14,800 Google searches.

Residents in Bristol are craving breaks by the beach the most, searching for holiday homes in Cornwall, Devon and Dorset more than any other UK destination.

Right at the other end of the UK, Scottish holiday homes are also in high demand, with an 184% increase from June last year.

The biggest increase in search interest has been seen in Norfolk, with a 237% increase year-on-year, highlighting this east coast location as an up-and-comer for 2020 and beyond. 

The 10 most in-demand holiday home locations, according to Martin & Co’s research, are:

  1. Cornwall

  2. Scotland

  3. Norfolk

  4. Devon

  5. Wales

  6. Lake District

  7. Dorset

  8. Isle of Wight

  9. Northumberland 

  10. North Wales 

Unsurprisingly, coastal destinations dominate the top ten as people crave an escape to the seaside to make the most of the ‘beautiful’ but often unheralded British beaches on offer.

With travel likely to be disrupted for a while, and potentially into next summer as well, holidaymakers are seeking UK alternatives to their usual favourite holiday destinations abroad. 

The search data revealed that the South Coast appears to be a particularly popular choice, with Cornwall, Devon and Dorset all featuring in the top seven most searched for holiday home destinations. Devon witnessed a 184% increase in Google searches year-on-year, while Dorset also saw an impressive increase compared to 2019, with an extra 1,900 searches compared to June last year.

When it comes to Scottish holiday homes, searches were mostly made from residents in Edinburgh, as people look to holiday closer to home as a result of the pandemic and the possibility of further restrictions or local lockdowns.

“For those considering investing in a holiday home in the future, these destinations give an idea of some of the most in demand staycation spots in the UK,” a spokesperson for Martin & Co said.

“Not only do search increases over the past year show there’s a demand for holiday homes as Brits want to explore more of the UK, but coupled with travel plans abroad being impacted, it could be the perfect time to find somewhere to escape to. As the boom in UK staycations looks set to continue, keeping an eye on trending locations could be a good way to spot an investment.”

Is buying a second home a good investment?

According to Martin & Co, buying a second home can represent a great investment, but ‘how great will depend on what you want to achieve financially’.

For those looking to rent out their second home, they should be looking to purchase in an area where there is strong and consistent demand. However, those who are buying a second home for themselves, perhaps for regular staycations, may want to focus more on longer-term capital growth, which means purchasing in an area where price growth is strong and robust.

“Following Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s decision to introduce a stamp duty ‘holiday’ in the UK, you could save a substantial amount of money if you buy a second home between now and March 31, 2021,” the agency adds.

The firm’s guide to the new stamp duty rules can shed more light on how costs are currently reduced when buying a second home, despite the continued existence of the extra 3% surcharge.

How to buy a second home

There are things second home buyers must know and consider before committing to a purchase.

Martin & Co outlines some of these below. 

Stamp duty

Buyers of buy-to-let properties or second homes must pay an additional 3% in stamp duty.

So, even with the Chancellor’s stamp duty ‘holiday’ in place, you’ll still pay at least 3% in stamp duty if you buy a second home.

Your mortgage

If you’re buying with a mortgage and already have one on your main home, your lender will also want to know why you’re buying a second property.

You may also need to have at least 25% of the property’s purchase price as a deposit if you already own another property and your lender will need to be certain you can afford both mortgages.

Capital Gains Tax (CGT)

If you own a second property in the UK, you may be liable for Capital Gains Tax (CGT) when you sell it.

Council tax

Council tax is payable on furnished second homes even if you’re not living at the property full-time.

You can find out more about the most and least in-demand staycation locations here.

Poll: Would a holiday home be high on your list of investment priorities?

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