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Ban on new-build second homes going to a vote tomorrow

Another westcountry town may ban new-build homes being sold as holiday properties, even though the idea has backfired elsewhere.

Fowey in Cornwall - where 26 per cent of residential properties are second homes - is voting tomorrow in a referendum on a new neighbourhood development plan.

One provision in the plan is to follow the example of some nearby tourist towns and ban new-builds being bought by holiday home owners.


A preliminary survey of Fowey residents has suggested that 80 per cent would back such a ban.

A small number of other westcountry locations have already introduced this measure but in one area - St Ives - it is thought to have worsened the housing problem rather than helped.

Back in 2016 a referendum in St Ives ended with a ban on the sale of new-build flats and houses to second home buyers; a legal challenge later in the year failed, prompting a series of other referendum votes with similar results in some other westcountry locations. 

At the time some estate agents and developers warned of unintentional consequences of the ban, both in St Ives and elsewhere. 

A recent survey by the London School of Economics says the St Ives ban, and similar ones in a handful of other resorts in Britain - all applying only to new-build properties - have been damaging to the local construction and tourism industries.

“This has led to an increase in the price of existing homes as summer dwellers are competing for existing homes with local residents” according to Professor Christian Hilber of the LSE.

“Tourist towns can restrict second home investors with possibly positive effects on affordability, but this comes at the cost of a significant adverse effect on the local economy.”

  • edward apostolides

    The only way to ease the housing shortage is not by 'playing' with restrictions that simply have knock on effects elsewhere in local economies but for councils to build houses again. The number of new builds are restricted by the biggest house builders (who between them build most of the new homes) as the restriction to supply equals more profit per unit. The Government have been told for years now, decades in fact that the only way to create more affordable homes for ever growing families and young people wanting to start life in their own home is to build, from the Law Society, RICS and every estate agent body the message has been the same - we need to build more homes!


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