Buying second homes
Buying second homes
Second homes have been invariably painted as the wreckers of rural communities in Britain. One of the critics of second home purchasing has drawn a direct relationship between the number of second homes across England, Scotland and Wales and the number of people accepted as homeless, arguing that the similarity in numbers is not a coincidence. However, whether there is a direct correlation between the number of second homes and the number of homeless is not the most pertinent question. This chapter rather addresses the extent to which second homes are important and the extent to which they contribute to housing pressures in the countryside. Despite the long history of interest in second homes, there has been no significant literature that has looked at national situations or moved from local observation and conjecture to more solid, broader evidence. This chapter hence focuses on the two levels of debate that have accompanied the growth of the second home phenomenon in England, Scotland and Wales. The first has a local focus, is concerned with the plight of particular areas or villages, and tends to conclude that second homes are a big problem for rural communities. The second has a national focus, is concerned with the ‘placing’ of second homes within a larger array of housing market pressure, and suggests that the movement of temporary residents to the countryside has little impact on housing constraints and on general population movements which bring permanent migrants to rural areas. In fact, the debate often pits the local view against national priorities and although many areas have been pressed for a policy response, such efforts have been frustrated by the lack of enthusiasm for bringing national policy to bear on what is deemed as a local problem. Concerns on the impact of second homes to local housing access barely catches the attention of national newspapers and are often seen as the ‘sheer injustice’ of people having two or more homes while others have none.
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