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Generation Rent: 29 homes lost per day to the holiday homes sector

PRESS RELEASE: England’s housing supply lost nearly 11,000 properties to the second home and holiday let sector between 2021 and 2022, according to analysis of local tax data by Generation Rent.

This continues a trend of homes leaving the residential sector that has accelerated in recent years, and is equivalent in some areas to the loss of more than 2% of the housing stock between 2019 and 2022. This has led to greater competition for vacant homes and inflationary pressure on prices and rents.

Holiday lets face very little regulation, meaning they are a more lucrative option for landlords in tourist hotspots. On Friday, Rachael Maskell MP is introducing a Bill to the Commons that would give local authorities the power to require holiday let operators to obtain a licence in order to let a property to tourists.

Generation Rent examined:

  • council tax data published by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities which includes the number of second homes; and
  • data on commercial holiday lets registered for business rates, obtained by a Freedom of Information request to the Valuation Office Agency.

Between 2021 and 2022, the number of second homes in England increased by 3,556, to 256,913. The number of holiday lets increased by 7,153, to 73,624. This is a total of 10,709 homes – equivalent to 29 per day.

While this is a similar increase in holiday lets to the 7,102 seen during 2020-21 (when pandemic restrictions on international flights led to a boom in domestic tourism), the growth in second homes has accelerated from 807 in that year.

Over 2019-22, the number of holiday lets and second homes has increased by 25,317. The growth in this period has been concentrated in traditional holiday hotspots as well as some urban districts. Leicester saw the biggest loss of primary homes, mostly to second homes, equivalent to 2.2% of the city’s 2020 housing stock. This was followed by Scarborough, South Hams in Devon, the London Borough of Southwark and Copeland in Cumbria, which all saw more than 1% of their housing stock move into the second homes and holiday lets sector in the space of three years.

The effective loss of homes serving as primary residences places upward pressure on rents. At a regional level, the East Midlands lost 2.0 in every 1,000 homes to the holiday sector and the South West lost 1.9 in every 1,000 homes between 2019 and 2022. These regions also saw the highest rent inflation in the same period, of 10%, as measured by the ONS. London had the lowest change in homes classed as second homes and holiday lets (0.1 in every 1,000 homes) and the lowest rent inflation in England, of 3%.

In recent days, several newspapers have reported that the government is considering requiring holiday lets to have planning permission. A similar policy is already in place in London, where homes let out on a short term basis for more than 90 days in a given year must obtain planning permission. Unfortunately this policy is not well-enforced, with 6,297 of 41,224 whole-property Airbnb listings in London available for more than 90 days.

Rachael Maskell MP is taking a different approach, with councils able to issue temporary licences and cap their number. Her Bill will be debated on Friday.

Dan Wilson Craw, Deputy Director of Generation Rent, said:

“High nightly rents and the lack of tax and regulation have fuelled an explosion in holiday lets at the expense of people who just need a place to live. In many parts of the country that is forcing people to move away from the places they grew up, and leading to shortages of workers.

“The government is beginning to recognise the need to intervene. However, it is not clear that planning changes are the answer given how limited their impact has been in London. The permanent nature of planning permission would also make properties designated as holiday lets disproportionately more valuable than other properties.

“Instead, councils should have the power to require holiday lets to have a time-limited licence, and cap their number where there is a severe shortage of homes. This would be a more flexible and responsive approach than using the planning system, and would be easier for councils to enforce.”


If you have a view – please let us all know by emailing me at – Andrew Stanton Executive Editor – moving property and proptech forward. PropTech-X

Andrew Stanton

CEO & Founder Proptech-PR. Proptech Real Estate Influencer, Executive Editor of Estate Agent Networking. Leading PR consultancy in Proptech & Real Estate. Want to contact me directly regarding one of my articles or maybe you'd like a chat about future articles? Email me via

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