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‘Beautiful’ Cornwall seaside town bans Londoners from buying second homes

Kate Smurthwaite clashes with Mike Parry over second home ownership

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Residents across Cornwall have complained recently they’re being priced out of their own homes. This is largely due to the staycation boom caused by the pandemic.

And a census found 26% of properties in Fowey, on the county’s south coast, are second homes. Some were sold for more than £1million, My London reports.

But the port town has banned newly built houses being sold as second homes, a move which has been met with a mixed reaction.

Under the new rules, new home owners will have to prove the property will be their principal residence.

But one woman wrote online: “I have worked hard for my second home.”

Another shared: “That’s not fair. And how can you stop someone buying a house? It’s bonkers.”

However, Lucy Daniel, who lives in the town, said residents are priced out of buying property, and the popularity of the area means the alternative, rental properties, are gone in hours.

The 60-year-old woman, who has “multiple occupations”, said: “It’s not only that we can’t buy anything because we can’t afford it. The local average wages are low, and mortgage multipliers don’t allow us to get anywhere near the prices for those properties.

“The obvious alternative is to rent, however these properties get snatched up by people who can pay what they want.

“Rental properties go within hours of appearing and are marketed during the summer season deliberately.

“We do live very precariously.

“We now have a situation where people genuinely struggle to stay in the town.

“You want to be part of a community but you don’t get that feeling of permanence anymore.”

Fowey is following in the footsteps of other Cornish towns, such as St Ives and Mevagissey.

Cornwall Council, controlled by the Tories, held a referendum in Fowey and the majority of residents voted in favour of the ban.

Rebecca Hemingway, from Fowey Folk Museum, said: “There’s nobody with a view of the sea that’s local – maybe one.

“It’s too late to do anything about the second homes situation now – it would be nice for the community if there were more affordable homes. There’s a handful at the top, but not enough.”

Jo Ashby, a director at premium estate agent John Bray and Partners, said there has been an “explosion” in interest in the last 18 months.

He added: “There is no doubt that Cornwall is the place everyone wants to be – there’s been an incredible explosion in the last 18 months. More and more people want to live here rather than just holiday here.

“It’s busy with a lot of people wanting to move – whether within the county or from outside the county, it’s not just second home owners. More people want to live here permanently and are converting their holiday properties.”

  

Other people online agreed with the locals.

One woman wrote on Facebook: “Excellent news!”

Another social media user shared: “No one needs a second home.”

A third posted: “This needs to happen elsewhere.”

The ban comes as a despairing couple in Cornwall with seven children face living separately due to the area’s housing crisis.

Ben Roberts, 27, and fianceé Amee Bettifon, 28, live with their kids – all under the age of six – at the rented four-bedroom home in Bodmin but they’ve been issued a notice by their landlady.

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