MP wants fair deal for young home-buyers
NEWS that Cornwall is officially the second home capital of the UK has led St Ives MP Andrew George to call for a change in the law.
Data from the 2011 Census shows 23,000 people nationwide registered a second address in Cornwall.
The MP says as a result, young people in west Cornwall find it very hard to buy a home where they live.
He wants planning law changes to protect "local people".
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He said: "This is about dealing with the consequences of unequal housing opportunities. People have the right to buy a second home.
"It's not surprising that many come to Cornwall, one of the most beautiful parts of the country but it's also undeniable that such a high prevalence of second homes does have an impact on the opportunities for locals, especially young people trying to get onto the housing ladder."
The data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) shows the number of people with second addresses they use when working away from home, holidaying or during university holidays.
It doesn't include buy-to-let properties never occupied by their owners.
Mr George, who successfully campaigned for the end of the 50 per cent discount on council tax previously enjoyed by Cornwall's second home owners, said a recent survey of estate agents in the area showed that for each home sold to a first time buyer, four houses were sold as second homes "which won't be lived in for most of the year".
He said: "When it has an impact on the housing chances of local families, local authorities need the power to curb the sheer volume of property being transferred from family homes to holiday homes."
Mr George wants a new class of 'non-permanent occupancy' for homes.
He said: "Just as someone wanting to turn a residential property into a shop or café would need to apply for permission for change of use, people wanting to buy a home for part-time residency should have to apply for permission to do so."
West Cornwall estate agent Chris Wood of PDQ Property said: "As someone who has children who are of house-buying age living in Cornwall it is something that I worry about. But the majority of our homes are sold to local people and the majority of the property that is sold as second homes are, in fact, sold to local people.
"It is those local people that are spending the money that they earn from letting them out in the local economy. So the issue is not as clear cut as people think.
"I am in favour of more housing being available to local people but how do you regulate it?
"I think what we need is more social housing for all who genuinely need it.
"What we need are more homes to rent for perfectly decent people who have found themselves on benefits."