Increase in number of second houses bought by district’s homeowners

PUBLISHED: 12:00 14 October 2018

Andy Dean

The number of second homes being bought in North Somerset is on the up – despite an increase in tax.

Stamp duty hikes aimed to open up the housing market, but almost one in every five homes sold last year in the area were to people who already had another property.

Figures, released this week by the HMRC, show £229million was spent on second homes in North Somerset in 2017-18.

The statistics come as several campaign groups call for developers to build smaller homes or bungalows to encourage first-time buyers or people to downsize, instead of large family homes.

Last year 19 per cent – which is approximately 900 – of the properties sold in North Somerset were classified as second homes, despite an extra three per cent stamp duty charge on additional properties in April 2016.

Twelve months previously, 770 second homes were purchased.

In Congresbury villagers have called for more affordable housing at a forthcoming development at Smallway.

And at nearby Cobthorn Way, plans are being altered to create family homes, rather than bungalows, despite villager Marion Johnson’s assertion the latter are needed ‘urgently’.

The National Housing Federation is concerned about the impact of people buying second homes.

Policy leader Will Jeffwitz said: “In any community, if more homes are bought up as second homes then there are fewer available for residents – and the houses left are more unaffordable.

“If families and young people are priced out of their communities it can have a hugely demanding impact on community life – with village shops, schools and pubs closing in alarming numbers.”

Lawrence Bowles, research analyst at Savills, said first-time buyers are still at a ‘fundamental disadvantage’.

He said: “First-time buyers will typically be buying with a mortgage, and buy-to-let landlords will often have the money in their account, ready to go.

“Sellers prefer that over mortgages because of the certainty – there’s always a risk associated with a mortgage.”

Around £31million was collected from stamp duty in North Somerset last year, of which about a third came from people buying another home.

The Treasury said the Government’s priority is to ‘support first time buyers’.

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