Coastal Poole, Dorset is a typical example of a coastal area in England with a high proportion of second home owners. According to the 2011 census, across Sandbanks, Canford Cliffs and Branksome Park in BH13, almost 18% of homes – circa 1000 homes – were designated second homes, or ‘household spaces with no usual occupants.’ Across Poole as a whole, that number drops to 4.7% of all households.
With the current debate continuing as to whether holiday home owners damage the local community, we offer a perspective from our local area. Many of our clients are indeed second home buyers, so we have first hand experience of their motives and lifestyles.
BH13 has been drawing second home owners from afar for more than a century. Looking back at the Londoners who first bought plots of land in the early 1900s, their motives mirror those of today’s second home owners: health and wellness, leisure, greater space for the family and entertaining, fresh air and a breath-taking sea view.
Today we retain this habitual relationship with the city: the outward migration of young people in search of a first class education, highly paid employment and cool culture/leisure. The inward migration of city folk investing their wealth in second homes on the coast. Nothing new locals would say. Do the net figures balance? – no.
We are under the spotlight, because this behaviour is thought to drive up local house prices in view of the localised concentration of second homes. The limited number of homes on the cliff-top, waterfront or beachfront with a sea view is finite and in demand. Local developers are treading every inch of sand along this stretch of coastline to extract the maximum value from such desirable plots, leaving no stone unturned.
At Berkeleys, we see many positive benefits brought to the area by second home owners, and here we uncover our five top insights:
– Almost 40% of local residents are aged 65 and above. Many have health challenges. Second home buyers and owners are typically younger families with children. This creates a broader demographic spread across the community and draws younger generations to the area.
– Second home owners actively spend money on local leisure facilities across the area during the holiday seasons. They support local lifestyle service providers like watersports people, the café, the spa, the sports club, some of which are services that local residents are less likely to use. Each time Berkeleys sells a second home, we see local businesses benefit too – building contractors, architects, home maintenance services and private transport. All good for the local community and the local economy.
– Second home owners are typically UK residents, whereby their primary home is within driving distance from Poole. They do in fact visit out of season too, as well as in the holiday season, using local facilities and leisure amenities.
– A significant trend supporting both the local community and the government coffers, is one whereby second home owners now let their second home maybe during the winter season, or when left idle over longer periods. Berkeleys Lettings has seen strong growth in lifestyle lettings. Letting out rarely used second homes brings more in-situ residents to the community, and generates income for the home owner.
– Finally, since 2012, Poole Council has not offered a council tax discount on second homes, so these home owners are paying the 100% tax rate to local government.
As the summer holidays begin, and the local community ignites once again with the buzz and vibrancy that visitors bring, we cannot influence the weather, but a warm welcome definitely awaits here in coastal Poole.