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The South West’s economy and construction activity have historically benefited from tourism and the inward migration of older and retiring households from elsewhere in the UK. There has also been a steady rise in the number of properties being bought as second homes. This has particularly been the case in Cornwall. Glenigan project data highlights the importance of private house building to regional economy. At £1,970 million private housing projects accounted for a third of construction work starting on site in 2015.

However, these trends have also had some adverse impacts, pricing many local residents out of the housing market. 

Local residents in St Ives have now voted in a referendum to restrict the sale of newly built properties as second homes.  More than 80% of voters backed the ban, which means new housing projects will get planning permission only if reserved for full-time residents.

The vote sets a precedent that could be adopted elsewhere in the region. 

However, it is unclear what impact such a ban will have on the local housing market. The intention is to increase the supply of homes available to local families, yet it could actually deter developers from bringing forward sites for development. This would have an adverse impact on the regional economy and local employment. At the same time, exclusion from the new homes market could intensify the demand for existing properties from those looking for a holiday home. 


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