Key messages from the 2011 Census:
- Around 25,000 people have a second address in Somerset, of which around a quarter are Somerset residents themselves.
- The remaining three-quarters are most commonly from urban areas of the South West, London and the South East.
- Around 3,000 people have a second address in Somerset for the purposes of holidays, and around 2,800 for the purposes of work. The great majority are of working age (or children).
- The rate of second addresses is above the national average in all Somerset districts.
- West Somerset has the 8th highest rate of second addresses used for holidays of any local authority in England.
- Second home ownership brings money to the local economy but may impact on local house prices and community cohesion.
Data from the last census (in 2011) identifies a total of 25,214 people living in England and Wales who have a second address in Somerset. Around a quarter of these are Somerset residents themselves.
The remaining three-quarters of people are most commonly from the South West region, notably the urban areas of Plymouth (935 people) and Bristol (888 people). Outside the South West, the most common places of usual residence are London (2,700 people), Cardiff (599), Birmingham (415), Southampton (338) and Oxford (287).
Figure 1: Distribution of people with a second address in Somerset, by local authority, 2011 Census
A second address is defined as one in which a person stays for more than 30 days per year. The great majority (9 out of 10) of people with a second address in Somerset are of working age (or children).
Typical second addresses include armed forces bases, addresses used by people working away from home, a student's home address, the address of another parent or guardian, or a holiday home. The Census results narrow these down to three classifications, ‘Working’, ‘Holiday’ or ‘Other’. For Somerset:
- Just over 3,000 people have a second address in Somerset for the purposes of holidays. A significant proportion of these (38%) are located in West Somerset.
- Around 2,800 people in Somerset have a second address in Somerset for the purposes of work. Of these around three-quarters (73%) are in Taunton Deane and South Somerset, likely to be linked to armed forces postings to RNAS Yeovilton and 40 Commando Royal Marines.
All Somerset districts have a higher proportion of second addresses than the England and Wales average, mirroring a trend across rural areas nationally. The relatively high number of ‘holiday’ addresses in West Somerset puts the district at double the national average (a rate of 76 people per 1,000 usual residents).
Figure 2: Rates of second addresses per 1,000 usual residents, 2011 Census
Moreover, West Somerset has the 8th highest rate of second addresses used for the purposes of holidays of any local authority in England (a rate of 33 per 1,000 usual residents).
Figure 3: Local authorities with the highest rates of second addresses for holiday purposes, England, 2011 Census
Second home ownership brings money into the local economy but can also result in increasing local house prices due to competition with buyers of second homes. Housing affordability is a particular issue for residents of West Somerset. Second homes can also impact on community cohesion when houses stay empty for long periods.
The full Second Address dataset from the 2011 Census is available through the Office for National Statistics website.