Restricting second homes and holiday lets will not restore the affordability of houses in local communities

Restricting the numbers of second homes and holiday lets will not restore the availability and affordability of reasonably priced houses for people living and working in local communities – why?

This is the published opinion of a retired residential property surveyor of 30 years standing and author of the ‘howtoimprovethehousingmarket’ web site.

It is published in a bid to start restoring the viability of ‘community’, in all regions of our country and to protect us from excessive second home and holiday property ownership, especially in more attractive localities.

Sadly these ideas may not be on the radar of any political party within Westminster at this particular moment in time. Why, we cannot say!

One thing is sure however, there are problems with any proposal to tax those who wish to own second homes or run holiday letting businesses, not least because doing so will not somehow make such properties suddenly become more affordable to those living and working in the local communities concerned.

Rather than try to tax (or to fine) those who use houses as second homes or for holiday letting, or just leave them empty, I propose a fundamental upgrade to the workings of the whole British housing market, because to actually track down and fine the various different classes of owners would not just be difficult, it would be quite impossible to administer in practice.

The Elements of these Proposals and their Key Effects
At present it is difficult to see which elected government of the United Kingdom (if any), might be prepared to take the steps necessary to begin resolving the present house price crisis in a meaningful way.

That said, the proposals being advocated here are urgently in need of bringing in.

The way to resolve the house price crisis explained here uses unique expertise devised by a professional property valuer having over 30 years working experience in advising different clients specifically on house prices.

Without appropriate change, things will not and cannot start to get better for everyone with regard to house price levels and their broad range-affordability.

The author of this post says: “The changes I am advocating here would bring house prices back to within reach of those best suited to the houses currently being sold on the market or becoming available locally.”

Here are the effects of the proposals I am putting forward:

  • Firstly, local buyers would have a better chance to purchase such houses as well as rent one if this remained their wish.
  • House prices would more closely reflect earnings in the various areas of Britain and remain within reasonable affordability for those ready to offer a service in their community.
  • Finally, with more stable house prices, there will be certainty for builders endeavouring to build the extra properties needed to satisfy increasing local demand. Their costs will be able to be estimated more accurately.

Implementing this new strategy does require our government to challenge those driving house prices higher, whilst taking profits for themselves in the process.

This would necessarily have to include fresh discussions with the large scale housing developers, land owners, banks and even some charitable housing associations.

A ministerial team of politicians would have to be assigned to carry this venture forward in order for it to be accomplished swiftly enough to resolve the present crisis.

Our proposed and alternative solution to the house price crisis outlined above is twofold:

Instead of allowing the price of houses to depend on sales being arranged by sellers in conjunction with their appointed estate agents (as happens at present), house prices should actually be based on true buyer competition, using offers made for each property with the added knowledge of where each specific buyer currently lives and will work.

This way, all the ‘local’ offers could be listed alongside all the non-local ones and the house seller would then be afforded the opportunity of considering choosing a local buyer over a non-local one.

This is the primary change necessary to bring about fairer house purchases for all houses across the whole of the UK. To achieve this, would simply need the change from seller appointed estate agents to buyer’s agents instead. There’s more on this later but you should know that most people buying something valuable prefer to have an expert representing them and most prefer not to have the selling agent trying to help them when doing this!

Using this procedure, especially where sellers are moving within their own local area, there would be far less need to entertain buyers from richer areas hoping to out-bid those living in poorer ones where attractions such as sought-after rural and coastal locations are present.

SECONDLY – in addition to the first:
This should involve strengthening the planning system rather than relying on it completely. It should be in addition to the first essential change, as explained above.

This would impose new restrictions on residential uses by using planning criteria contained within democratically agreed neighbourhood plans and registers similar to the system currently being proposed in Wales. These would include introducing three new classes of property use into the planning system: – primary home, second home and short-term holiday accommodation. (The restrictions ought to be defined in a democratically agreed local neighbourhood plans and registers).

This would help to limit the purchase of scarce housing and so better assist those with local requirements who could then compete with one another to buy the available houses, without being continually beaten to the post by those with more capital coming from outside. Planning cannot achieve the desired result all on its own however.

Our assertion is  that the only way to bring house prices back to levels in line with local buyers’ levels of affordability is to change the present rules for selling such houses by using both of these methods combined – namely both a wholesale upgrade to the workings of the British housing market across the board and the imposition of restrictions on residential uses – using planning criteria as contained within democratically agreed neighbourhood plans and registers.

The author of this post also says: “This new combination would be more inclusive, more local market orientated and be able to include local buyers, rather than to largely to exclude them, as happens at present.”

If setting up the planning side of these market improvements should prove difficult to do or if it may involve a lengthy time delay, the best thing to do would be to implement stage one and change the marketing policy on its own. That should have a significant affect on the way the present and imperfect housing market operates. It could make all the difference on its own.

The explanation of how to resolve accelerating house prices begins here. Read all about these fresh new proposals in full detail at the following link:

The House Price Solution

How to Improve all local housing markets in England and Wales

Posted by: Peter Hendry, Housing Valuation Consultant
Author of:– The House Price Solution.

One Reply to “Restricting second homes and holiday lets will not restore the affordability of houses in local communities”

  1. This article is intended to be for the attention of the next Prime Minister or leader of our government and their designated officers who may communicate concerning these proposals if they wish.

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