Providing homes for second home purchasers!

A recent paper provides some interesting insights into the veiws of second home owners in Cornwall.

“I think wages down there must be low and then I think that they wouldn’t be able to, you know, afford the houses.”

“Do you know, I don’t think there are many locals here, I mean there’s nobody here, they’re all in Wadebridge I’d say or somewhere else. I mean the only people I know round here who live here are retired.”

“Its not like there is any industry in Cornwall so if we the tourists, weren’t providing industry then I don’t know what would be the alternative.”

Dykes and Walmsley, The Reluctant tourist? An exploration of second home owners’ perceptions of their impacts on North Cornwall, UK, European Journal of Tourism, Hospitality and Recreation. 2015.

What is disturbing is the view that low wages restrict the ability of local people to purchase houses with the implication that if it were not for second home owners the houses would lie empty. The other point, if misplaced, is that without the second home owners there would not be any jobs and income for local people.

In a sense both comments are a self-justification for second home ownership. In reality Cornwall does have other sources of employment and second home purchases do (together with other factors), play a significant role in elevating house prices in Cornwall above what the purchasing power of the community would do. The second comment illustrates the impact of high levels of second home ownership on the local community – effectivley leading to locals being restricted to nearby towns.

The ‘local plan’ examination in public which resumes today has led to an increase in the housing target to accommodate more second homes. Will it add more?


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