One in five houses bought last year in North Devon were purchased as second homes or properties to rent out, figures show.

And in Torridge, one in four houses were bought as a second home, according to HMRC data.

Last year 21 per cent of properties bought in North Devon and 24 per cent in Torridge were classed as second homes.

A total of 860 second homes were purchased across both districts in 2017-18, totalling some £209million in combined sales.

That’s despite an extra three per cent stamp duty charge on additional properties, introduced in April 2016 as part of a government effort to deter buy-to-let landlords, property investors and second home owners.

The number bought last year in North Devon has increased by 15 per cent since 2016-17, when around 410 second homes were purchased.

And in Torridge the jump has been even higher – up 34 per cent from 290 second homes.