Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Second Homes - Social and Economic Impacts

Increasing disposable incomes have resulted in an increase in second home ownership. Many of these homes are used for weekends or holidays in attractive rural areas. The increase in second home ownership has however bought some ill feeling by locals who have felt the impact of changes in villages caused by second homes. An increase in second homes in an area can bring both benefits and problems.

- provides trade for local trades such as builders, plumbers etc.
- tourists
- existing home owners have seen an increase in the value of their homes
- older properties in need of repair have been restored
- tourists do bring in some money to the local area

- house prices increase due to competition between buyers of second homes causing many youngsters to be outpriced from their own local area
- villages can become 'sleepy' as some houses remain empty for much of the year - this has also resulted in the closure of some local shops and services due to a fall in demand
- a reduction in public transport services
- some gentrification / improvements carried out by second home owners are not in keeping
- reduction in community spirit as some houses stay empty for long periods and people are without neighbours

Many people have very strong views on second home ownership, as shown in these quotes on the BBC Devon website. Many villages in popular tourist areas such as Devon and Cornwall have seen a signficant increase in properties bought up as second homes. Increasingly young people are finding it difficult to buy homes in the areas they have grown up in due to the rapidly increasing house prices. There have been various calls for the increasing taxation of second home owners to try and reduce the problem. See some of the articles below for specific examples of the problems and some of the solutions that have been proposed. In an exam answer try and name a specific example of an area affected by second homes - e.g. the village of Appledore (Devon).

Key terms check:
Second Home -
a home used only at certain times of the year - e.g. weekends / holiday periods

Follow up links:
The impact of second and holiday homes (an interesting research paper - looks at the socio-economic impacts and impacts on the local housing market)
Second Homes squeezing out locals in Scotland (Scotsman Article)
Holiday Homes causing resentment (Devon) (BBC Article)
Tax urged on Second Home Owners (BBC Article)
Second Homes damage village life (BBC Article)
Your views on second homes (Devon) (BBC)
Second Homes (Geography Pages)
Call for more tax on second homes (BBC Article)
Home, Second Home (BBC Article)

Photo Credit: many thanks to Ian Murray - Geography Photos

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