Media reports over the weekend suggest the government is preparing a triple whammy – three measures which may reduce the number and viability of second homes.
Firstly it is reported that Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick wants to give councils powers to stop new homes being sold as holiday properties.
Secondly, Jenrick wants planning reforms to oblige developers to build more starter homes and fewer of a type to appeal to non-local purchasers.
Thirdly, additional planning changes may oblige second home owners to require planning consent before using their properties for holiday and short lets.
Until now a council has had to hold and win a referendum on local plans specifying that new builds must be sold only to local and only for use as principal properties.
Famously, this was pioneered by the Cornish resort of St Ives which voted for such a policy in 2016. A legal challenge by a developer failed but since then local agents have suggested that holiday home buyers have concentrated on older properties, where there is no restriction.
A 2019 assessment by the London School of Economics warned that the ban may have backfired, with developers building elsewhere and locals facing competition from buyers seeking existing properties for second homes.
The LSE report warned: “Any policy that succeeds in keeping second home investors away will hurt the local economy, mainly the tourism and construction sectors.”
The Daily Mail says no final decision has been made by the Cabinet but Jenrick is thought to be ‘open’ to proposals that would require people to get planning permission for change of use before they could let out their property as a holiday home.
You can see the Mail story here.