Thursday, 17 November 2011 12:07 PM
The number of second homes in England rose slightly last year despite the gloomy economic situation, according to government figures.
The statistic emerged from the latest Department of Communities and Local Government figures showing the number of homes where the owners are claiming a second home council tax discount. It said there are now 246,494, up from 246,026 in 2010 but still lower than the 252,062 recorded in 2009.
Property consultancy Knight Frank said the increase was "surprising" but reflected the growing popularity of staycations (holidays within the UK).
Second home ownership rose most in Northern regions and the South East but fell in the Midlands and South West.
The five districts with the greatest proportion of second homes are the City of London (25 per cent), Isles of Scilly (17 per cent), South Hams (10 per cent), North Norfolk (nine per cent) and Kensington & Chelsea (eight per cent).
Grainne Gilmore, head of UK residential research at Knight Frank, said: "The results are a little surprising as trading conditions have been challenging over the last year, with the lack of mortgage finance proving a stumbling block for some potential buyers.
"But they reflect a wider trend for holidaying at home, with coastal locations the most popular among second-home buyers."