Appendix 2 – High Level Analysis of Second Homes data in Brighton and Hove

According to the English Housing Survey, in 2018-19, 2.4 million households in England reported having at least one additional residential property of which 772,000 were second homes not let through the private rented sector. 27% of these second homes were in the South West whilst the South East had 14%.

Census data: The 2001 Census data for Brighton and Hove showed that in total there were 118,953 household spaces in Brighton & Hove, 114,479 had residents living in them, the remaining were either vacant (3,571 household spaces or 3.0% of all household spaces) or were ‘second or holiday homes’ (903 household spaces or 0.8% of all household spaces.[1]).

The 2011 Census indicated that the proportion of household spaces ‘that are not usually occupied, either because they are second or holiday homes or because they are left vacant’, was 4.2% of the city’s households, a slight increase since 2001.

Council tax data: the ONS data includes rates of second home ownership by local authority area in England and Wales suggests a correlation between tourist hotspots and second home ownership. In September 2021, Brighton & Hove had a second home ownership rate of 1.7%, lower than Chichester 5.8 %, Isle of Wight 4.3%, Cornwall 5.1%, Scarborough 7.3%, North Norfolk 9.8% and the City of London 27.6%.  

Vacant property: Government data suggests there were 4,598 vacant properties in Brighton and Hove in October 2021, of which 1,354 were long term vacant. Council Tax data suggests 3,659 dwellings were classed as empty on 4 October 2021, equivalent to 2.8 % of housing stock, higher than the England average of 2.6%. The figures reported by Council Tax are known to contain a degree of inaccuracy and do not reflect the true number of long term empty properties in the city. This is caused generally by a lack of incentive and oversight of some owners to update council tax teams when their properties are brought back into use, particularly properties that are empty between 6 months and 2 years where there is no difference in the council tax charged.

The housing market requires a small proportion of vacant dwellings to enable property turnover for the market to function efficiently and a council study in 2008 considered the figures suggested a fairly efficient use of housing stock[2]. Over the past three years 430 properties have been brought back into use.  This has been achieved through providing advice and assistance to encourage owners to bring their properties back into use and utilising enforcement powers where necessary as well. Once a property has been empty over two years, a council tax premium is charged as well to help maximise the number of homes available in Brighton and Hove.

Short term holiday lets: The council’s 2018 Visitor Accommodation Study Update estimated there were 1,500-2,000 short-term holiday let properties actively being marketed in the city, including around 250 properties suitable for larger groups. The study noted that numbers increased during summer months. In March 2022 the website indicated 3,118 properties actively being marketed[3]. This increase is not surprising as the city is an important tourist destination. The pandemic travel restrictions saw the trend in second home, Airbnbs and holiday pandemic staycation in certain tourist hotspots in England significantly increase.


[1] BHCC 2001 Census Briefing 4 – Housing 4_Housing.pdf (

[2] Brighton & Hove Strategic Housing Market assessment, DTZ Final Report April 2008 Final Report April 2008 - origi.PDF (

[3] Airbnb Data on 3,118 Vacation Rentals in Brighton And Hove | MarketMinder (