Despite this, owning a second home remains an attractive idea to
many. Figures published by the Resolution Foundation in June 2019
show that the number of people in the UK owning property overseas
has remained the same at about 970,000 since 2006-08, despite the
challenges the global economy has been through since then.
Yet the 'madness' that Johnson refers to is all the economic realities that come with owning a second home. While a holiday home in a much-loved destination is a wonderfully romantic ideal, the reality can become an administrative nightmare and a logistical burden.
Membership of The Hideaways Club provides a very simple but very effective antidote to the downsides. Angus Wood, a member since December 2018, owns two second homes, both in the UK, and understands the costs that come with second-home ownership.
"Everyone who owns properties knows that essentially, property means work, certainly if you want a place where you have space and can entertain," he says.
Wood had been aware of The Hideaways Club for a few years before
a business sale meant he was looking at a period of
semi-retirement. Keen to spend more time in Europe, he signed up as
a Classic Collection member and has already visited Sardinia, Chamonix and Mallorca.
"I imagine if you own a home abroad inevitably the first few days of any visit are spent on jobs and admin. I certainly wasn't looking for any more jobs and mentally I ascribe the ongoing cost with Hideaways as a small price to pay for swerving all the hassle," says Wood.
For Wood, that hassle can lead to sleepless nights. With properties in London and Yorkshire, it's the events that unfold when absent - weather, alarms tripping, leaks - that generate his stress, and he finds it only compounded by distance. "I regularly wake in the night in bad weather wondering how the other house is bearing up!''
"For anyone considering either second-home ownership or The Hideaways Club membership, I'd advise them to cost it out and work out your likely usage. Both represent a long-term commitment but The Hideaways Club offers considerable variety and less ongoing hassle."
This chimes with the realities that Johnson discusses in his
column. "Millions of second homes all over the world sit vacant for
most of the year, while costing money to clean and repair. Indeed,
they can become a burden and a source of guilt, obliging the owners
always to go on holiday to the same place, even if they are bored
with it," he says.
While membership of The Hideaways Club doesn't meet all of Wood's holiday requirements - he likes to take long, impromptu road trips, for example - he's rapidly realised a couple of The Hideaways Club's main strengths.
"The key benefits are the predictable quality and the local teams. You can predict with a pretty high level of certainty that your expectations will be met, and it's hard to put a price on that!"
And as a neat way of marrying up his various holiday aspirations, Wood is planning to incorporate short stays in a couple of The Hideaways Club properties into his upcoming European road trip.
"We don't have children and both work for ourselves. This means we can really get some bang for our buck off peek and take some longer breaks with The Hideaways Club. All I need to do is get organised and decide where we want to go!"