Westcountry residents could increasingly be squeezed out of the property market as estate agents warned demand for second homes in the region shows no sign of slowing.
Figures complied by estate agent Knight Frank confirm the South West as the country's second home hot spot, with one-in-10 homes in parts of the region owned by people whose main residence is not the area.
The research found that South Hams in Devon has the highest concentration of second homes outside of London, with the properties accounting for 10 per cent of all housing, followed by North Cornwall at 9.6 per cent.
Taking Cornwall as a whole, nearly eight per cent of all residential properties are second homes, the highest in the country. The figure, two percentage points higher than the Isles of Wight in second, suggests the invasion is not restricted to popular areas on the coast.
In Devon, the proportion of second home ownership is lower at 2.87 per cent, but that still represents the seventh highest of all counties in England.
The agent's analysis showed that the number of second homes in England rose to a record level of 245,384 in 2009, 2.6 per cent more than during the previous year, after the figure fell in 2008.
In Cornwall there are 13,815 second homes and 12,531 in Devon.
The group warned that with growing demand for second homes in the UK, the gap between local and second home markets looked to widen.
Liam Bailey, head of residential research at Knight Frank, said: "Looking forward to 2010, our view is that growth in demand ought to continue – but the potential growth in second home numbers will be determined by the supply of properties for sale – early indications this year suggest that supply in the main second-home hotspots is still 20 per cent below the long-term average."
Its research also found that some second home buyers are driving property prices higher by more than 130 per cent in the most sought after parts of the Westcountry.
Knight Frank said the impact of people buying second homes had been greatest in Constantine Bay in North Cornwall, where prices were 131 per cent higher than the local average.
Other hot-spot areas, such as Rock and Trebetherick, both in Cornwall, had also seen uplifts of more than 90 per cent.