Second Homes – The Economic Impact on Rural Communities

There is concern in some quarters that second homes have a negative impact on the economy of rural communities. In some parts of the UK, local strength of feeling about this has occasionally erupted into arson, for example, with a number of second homes being burned down in Wales.
 
The main issues that create controversy are twofold. Firstly, there is the argument that second home owners drive up prices in rural areas, pushing them out of the reach of local people and exacerbating the problem that there is not enough affordable housing for low income local families. This is clearly an area that needs a balanced approach and well thought out strategy to help solve this very real issue.
 
The second common concern is that second houses are unoccupied for a large part of the year and this deprives local businesses of potential custom, sometimes badly affecting their viability. Another aspect of this is that local schools can become short of children, sometimes forcing local schools to close. Indeed, on some areas very popular with second home owners, the area can feel like a ghost town out of season, without the community vitality and vibrant local economy that characterises some other rural areas.
 
The problems seem to be focused on highly localised rural and coastal areas, the kind of attractive areas that are popular for second homes. For example, in North Cornwall, one in three properties is thought to be a second home or holiday home,
 
In general, the more remote rural areas have the greatest concentrations of second homes as a proportion of all the housing stock, intensifying the problem of creating a sustainable and robust local community with a thriving local economy..  
 
Although second and holiday homes contribute to an uplift in property prices in rural areas, it is important not to view their economic impact in isolation from other factors contributing to changes within rural communities and especially pressures on local housing markets from other groups such as commuters, retirees, or people wanting a lifestyle change. 
 
One way that second home owners can help avoid any negative economic impacts on the local community is to maximise the extent to which the second home does not stand empty.
 
By renting  a second home out as a holiday home for part of the year, when it is not in use by the owner’s family, it ensures that money is brought into the local economy as the family renting the holiday home will inevitably spend money in the local shops, restaurants and at local attractions. This is clearly a positive impact on the local economy and far better for the local community than having a second home stand empty. 
 
Yet many owners of second homes resist renting out their home to holidaymakers.
There are a wide variety of reasons for this. It is often not as simple as whether or not the owner of a second home would like to make a profitable return on their property. 
 
 Some second home owners simply do not want strangers in their home and this is a strongly felt emotion they are not likely to overcome.
 
Others do not want to get involved in what they see as complex property management issues, involving a lot of work and practical difficulty. For these owners, the answer is often to hire a holiday homes services specialist that can take away the hassle and arrange everything on their behalf, making the whole process of renting out a holiday home very straightforward.
 
If a holiday homes services specialist is engaged, they can arrange all aspects of property management, cleaning services and key holder services as well as sometimes a holiday concierge service. This means that the second home owner can benefit from a stream of income from the property, all the gain without the pain.
 
In addition, the impact on the local economy is positive as the holiday home rentals bring money into the local shops, restaurants and attractions as well as necessitating the employment of local trades people, such as plumbers, electricians, painters and carpenters.
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The impacts, both positive and negative, of second homes and holiday homes touch on a diverse range of factors that affect the sustainability of rural communities. 
 
One thing is clear – renting out a second home as a holiday home has a more positive impact on the local economy than leaving it standing empty for long periods.

The Things to Consider When Buying Your First Home

It is a good idea before you begin to search for your first home to decide exactly what you’re looking for. It is worth sitting down and working out a list of things to consider. Think about your price range, would you prefer a house or an apartment? How many bedrooms and reception rooms do you need? Also consider things like central heating, double glazing, parking and the garden. Think about what requirements are essential to you, things like shops, schools, transport and so on. These things can make a difference when you start to look around.There is not much point in beginning to look for a property until you know for sure that you can afford it. Whether you are a cash buyer or need to arrange finance, do your homework before commencing. It would be dreadful to find your dream home only to find that you cannot afford it. Whether you are buying your first property as a home or as an investment, the right location can be as important as the right mortgage. It is said that location is everything, but often it is hard to know exactly where the right location is. You will have an idea of which area you want to buy into and you should take other factors into account such as the distances to and from local amenities, and perhaps more importantly what the local schools are like (and if they have room).It is surprising how many people overlook doing a proper check of the local area before buying a property there. What may seem like a quiet area during the week could turn into something completely different at the weekend. It is also worth investigating how often public transport runs from your desired location, and also whether or not it will disturb you. For instance, when you go to view a house you may not notice that the bus stops just outside, or that the local airport is nearby, however, this is research which is easy to do. It is also worth looking at the nightlife in the area, if you are looking for a quiet property then you need to make sure that the street you are on doesn’t become a noisy thoroughfare when the local pubs close.In the past you could only buy property from an estate agent or purchase from a private sale and from time to time solicitors handled property sales in matters of probate. These days the internet has made it easier to look for property, giving potential buyers a much wider scope for searching all from the comfort of their own home. After visiting potential properties over a few days, you will probably have chosen one or two that you may like to buy. Ask to see them again so that you can see things with a fresh outlook and perhaps notice things that were overlooked last time.Now that you have found your first home, make an offer and if the vendor accepts, ask the estate agent to take the property off the market, some will do this only if you are actually in the position to buy it i.e. have a mortgage offer you can show them, this making it even more important to work out your finances and get that mortgage arranged before you start looking, losing that first home because you couldn’t move quickly enough would be a heart breaking experience and best avoided.Luckily, when buying a brand new home from a builder, you will more than likely find that they will accept a small deposit to reserve the house (or plot if it’s not been build yet) and that can take away a lot of pressure and is the reason I’m sure that many first time buyers buy ‘starter homes’ on housing developments rather than from private sellers, after all buying a home that way is just so much easier and there is far less to go wrong with ‘chains’ and people changing their minds.