By Charlie Milward
Efforts to curb the problem that second home ownership poses on first-time buyers in Dorset has been boosted by a Government grant – but campaigners have said more still needs to be done.
£5million of Government funding is to be given to Dorset councils which they expect to be able to spend on acquiring 50 homes, thus removing the houses from the market and preventing people from buying them as second homes.
Bournemouth, Poole and East Dorset will receive a percentage given by the Government’s Community Housing fund.
It is hoped that local community groups and affordable housing projects will benefit from the funding through Community Land Trusts.
However, a spokeswoman from charity Bournemouth 2026 Trust, who run CLT projects, said that “£5 million is just a drop in the ocean.”
Steve Hayes, chief executive of the Bournemouth Housing Society, agreed: “£5 million would only buy about 50 properties – that’s the maximum you would get out of that,” he said. “It’ll be helpful, but it won’t solve anything. It’s like sticking plaster to heal a wound.”
Community Land Trusts are non-profit corporations, with aims to develop and look after affordable housing and other community assets.
Currently, second home ownership is causing an issue by limiting the supply of housing available. This means first-time buyers are struggling to find properties that are affordable.
One third of the funding is being directed at authorities in the South, as the region accounts for 21% of second home ownership in England. This means it is the most popular area of the country to house second homes.
Second homes are properties that individuals will reside at during the holiday periods and at weekends. The trend is popular in Bournemouth because of the coastal views and the offer of sea-front residence.