Holiday homes boom will benefit brokers

Halifax Estate Agents recently issued figures to highlight how many Britons are buying holiday homes

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Around 3.5 million Brits now own holiday homes and according to Halifax, 7% of us are likely to buy one in the next five years, which would see the number of second properties owned double. This market is no longer for the wealthy.

These figures are often bandied about as a precursor to the merits of buying overseas and the growth in that market. In the past couple of weeks Leeds announced that its Spanish operation will expand to allow lending on property not only on the Costa del Sol but also the other Costas (except Almeria and Luz) and also the Balearic and Canary Islands.

The overseas market is thriving but the Halifax figures put Spain in second place. The most popular location for a holiday home for Brits is the UK, with almost a third being in this country.

Predictably, the South-West is the favoured location, which tallies with figures earlier in the year that picked out the West as the region to experience the biggest house price rises in the past decade fuelled by the increased take-up of holiday homes.

There is a market for brokers here and a need for consumer advice on buying a second home. The figures suggest that most people would spend up to 100,000 and require new mortgages.

There will be different motives for buying, with some wanting a second home for their own use and others keen to capitalise on letting opportunities.

Surprisingly, not many lenders will look at holiday lets as self-financing propositions in the same way as standard buy-to-lets. The ability to let is much more seasonal and short term, but on the flip side a good holiday home will command an impressive rental income.

Some lenders such as Scarborough, Stroud & Swindon and Abbey have recognised this as a market with potential and we could see others joining in.

Although there are many positives for second home ownership there have been problems with villages seeing prices rise rapidly due to the buying up of holiday homes. This can turn villages into ghost towns that only spark into life at weekends.

Local authorities can already cut Council Tax discounts and there has been talk of further measures to deter the boom in second homes. This could see this sector facing stiffer taxation in the future.