3.2m people stayed at a second address for more than 30 days in 2021 – Census

Some 3.2 million people in England and Wales reported staying at a second address for more then 30 days in 2021, according to Census data.

Those spending time at second properties, such as holiday homes, students’ home addresses, and partners’ addresses, equated to 5.3% of the population, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The percentage of people using a second address has risen since 2011, when 2.9 million people, or 5.2% of the population, did so.

Some 2.5 million usual residents in England and Wales have a second address within the UK and 736,000 have one outside it, according to the latest figures.

The most common types of second address were another parent or guardian’s address, which would have been selected for children whose parents lived apart (used by 1.1 million people), students’ home addresses (used by 655,000), and holiday homes (used by 447,000).

The ONS highlighted the potential impacts of the coronavirus pandemic on the figures.

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For example, students may have been more likely to be staying at their family home for the whole academic year, rather than using a term-time address.

In 2011, 715,000 people had students’ home addresses as a second address, and the decline likely reflects a pandemic effect, the ONS said.

The proportion of people using holiday homes has remained broadly stable since 2011, rising slightly from 426,000 to 447,000.

The number of people reporting using an armed forces base as a second address has more than halved, from 73,000 in 2011 to 33,000 in 2021.

There was also a decrease in the number of people who used another address when working away from home, from 253,000 in 2011 to 189,000 in 2021.

For the first time, the question also included an option for the use of a partner’s address.

In 2021, 294,000 people reported using this type of second address.

A slightly higher percentage of usual residents in England used a second address (5.4%) than in Wales (5.2%).

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Within England, London (6.0%) and the South West (5.9%) had the highest percentages of usual residents who used a second address, while the West Midlands (4.5%) had the lowest.

Within Wales, Cardiff (10.5%) and Ceredigion (10.2%) had the highest percentages of usual residents who used second addresses, while Blaenau Gwent (2.7%) and Merthyr Tydfil (3.0%) had the lowest percentages.

The local authorities with the highest percentage of people who used a second address were Oxford (15.6%), Cambridge (14.1%) and Exeter (13.5%).

In Wales, the local authority with the highest proportion was Ceredigion (9.1%).

These are all areas with universities, so the high percentage of people with second addresses likely reflects students with both a term-time address and a non-term-time address, the ONS said.

The figures also show a decline in the proportion of households across England and Wales owning their accommodation between 2011 and 2021 – from 64.3% to 62.5%.

Over the same period, there was an increase in the proportion of households renting their accommodation, from 34.3% (8.0 million) to 37.3% (9.3 million).

The proportion of households living rent-free declined from 1.4%, or 315,000, in 2011 to 0.1%, or 33,000, in 2021.

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Across England and Wales, 77.9% (19.3 million) of households were living in a house or bungalow, 21.7% (5.4 million) lived in flats, maisonettes or apartments, and 0.4% (104,000) lived in a caravan, or other mobile or temporary structure in 2021.

The proportion of households living in a flat, maisonette or apartment has increased from 21.0% (4.9 million households) in 2011.

The vast majority (98.5%) of households reported having central heating in 2021.

Of these, 0.9% used at least one renewable energy source.

Nearly a quarter (23.3%) of households reported having no cars or vans in 2021, edging down from 25.6% in 2011.

Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, said: “Predictably the number of private rented households in England has skyrocketed since 2011.

“Despite this, regulation of the sector stagnates. Every day our emergency helpline hears from private renters paying through the nose for damp, mouldy homes, and families too scared to complain for fear they’ll be kicked out.”

She added: “The only lasting solution to our housing emergency is building more social homes.”