More than 11,000 second home owners in England have converted their properties into vacation rentals since the beginning of the pandemic to take advantage of the rising demand for accommodation.
A new analysis of government numbers by real estate consultant Altus Group showed that the number of vacation homes traded as businesses has increased by more than a fifth since the pandemic broke out.
The data shows that there are now 67,578 homes in England classified as holiday homes converted into commercial properties, compared to 56,102 homes in March last year.
Travel restrictions to other countries have led to an increase in the demand for domestic travel, especially in 2021.
Nearly 4,000 homes have been flipped in the southwest since the pandemic began, amid record visitor numbers in Cornwall and Devon.
Meanwhile, the south-east also recorded a significant increase in the number of new holiday homes with an increase of 27.2% or 1,458 properties in the reporting period.
Converting second homes to vacation rentals has secured additional income for owners during the pandemic, but could also be beneficial for tax reasons.
Last spring, holiday homes were also eligible for grants worth EUR 552.23 million.
Meanwhile, top-up grants worth an additional £ 256.84 million were made available in January in view of the third national lockdown.
Additional grants were also announced in this year’s budget, according to Altus, to bring total grant support to £ 1.33 billion since Covid first emerged.
Robert Hayton, UK President of Altus Group, said: “The grants for second home owners will have been far more lucrative than ‘business as usual’ for many, especially in the off-season, while there is a tendency for vacation rentals to boom in hotspots.”
Around 96% of holiday homes in England are also covered by the small business rate scheme, so they pay little to no property taxes.
However, the government announced in the March budget that it plans to tighten tax rules for second home owners in England.
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