1 in 8 Homes in Porthleven Are Not Lived In
It is not often a few days goes by without hearing Cornwall is full of second homes. It is a hot topic in Porthleven too. But, how much of the rumours are true. How many houses in Porthleven are in full time occupation, part time, or holiday lets?
- 153 council tax discount (second home)
- 66 holiday lets
- 121 holiday lets
- 322 council tax discount
Percentage of second homes 11% and total not in full time occupation 15% of housing stock
- 379 holiday lets
- 519 council tax discount
Percentage of second homes 23% and total not in full time occupation 49% (!!) of housing stock
Now, holiday lets do play an important part to a town’s economy with visitor spend and employment. Trades people also get work from lets. So it is not all doom and gloom with holiday lets. They are an important part of a tourist town’s fragile economy. However, better planning rules could be in place to make sure the balance is just right.
Lets now take 2nd homes. Porthleven has 153 of them that apply for the 10% discount on council tax. It is worth noting that the figure of second homes could be higher if a owner chooses to pay the full council tax. Unlike holiday lets which are run as a business, second homes are not. These are generally used for the benefit of the owners. As when not in use, lay empty for large parts of the year.
A huge problem with second homes is to the housing stock. With less rental leads to higher prices being demanded. An average rent for a 2/3 bed property is over £600 a month.This is unaffordable to many people. It also has an affect on house prices if a house is in a desirable location, or seen as an investment opportunity. The sale price of the average house in Porthleven is around £180,000; again unaffordable for many due to low wage, bank reluctance to lend, or can’t save up a big enough deposit.
Imagine if only half of these 153 properties were available for long term affordable rent. It would go a long way to solve the housing problems in Porthleven. It would also mean you would not have to extend the town planning boundaries so much to meet the housing need. This can only be good for a community.
The Government is planning to allow all local authorities not to apply a discount on council tax. Currently it is law, and a local authority can offer anything between 50% and 10%. Cornwall Council only allows a 10% discount. Now if the discount stopped, how would we know how many houses not in full time occupation? The real danger is the number of second homes would be unmonitored and you would not know how many there are. Therefore, if the discount is stopped there must be some other way of keeping a record on the number of second homes.
I am not totally against second homes, but (and it is a very big but) you have to have some sort of balance between second homes and full time use. This balance must also be backed up by legislation that is enforceable to limit the number of second homes. Or else you end up with at least 49% of housing stock like in Padstow not in full time occupation.