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'No young families or children’: The seaside village overrun by second homes

Locals in Robin Hood's Bay, in north Yorkshire, have complained they cannot buy properties.

Robin Hood's Bay, the fishing village on the North York Moors, is home to a very small number of people - but residents say they are now outnumbered '70-30' by second home owners. (Reach)
Robin Hood's Bay, the fishing village on the North York Moors, is home to a very small number of people – but residents say they are now outnumbered '70-30' by second home owners. (Reach)

Villagers living in a stunning bay on the Yorkshire coast say they are being priced out by second homeowners who are “killing” the area.

Locals from Robin Hood's Bay have complained they cannot buy properties due to a massive boom in house prices driven by holidaymakers.

They claim in the bottom area of the village there could be as few as just five properties which are now housed by residents.

A woman, who has lived in the village since the 1960s and wanted to remain anonymous, said the boom had "made house prices ridiculous and there's now no young families and no children".

One resident in Robin Hood's Bay claimed there are now fewer than 20 permanent home owners in the North Yorkshire fishing village. (Reach)
One resident in Robin Hood's Bay claimed there are now fewer than 20 permanent home owners in the North Yorkshire fishing village. (Reach)

The resident said she now believed houses were a 70-30 split between holiday homes and villagers and the property issues were "killing" the village.

She added: "It's heartbreaking. I love it otherwise I wouldn't live here but there's been a big change in the last two years.

"If you're not fast enough you can't buy a house and if you're a young couple you won't earn enough money.

“How are you going to be able get a mortgage for a £350,000 little three-bedroom house?"

The resident admitted there was a division between the locals and those profiting off the tourists.

Although visitors have brought in a lot of positives, the huge demand has led to those who have lived in the area for their entire lives and young home-buying hopefuls being priced out.

Properties that do go on the market are being picked up within hours before being inevitably turned into yet more holiday lets.

Robin Hood's Bay is well known for its scenic coastal location - but locals say they're now outnumbered by holiday lets. (Reach)
Robin Hood's Bay is well known for its scenic coastal location - but locals say they're now outnumbered by holiday lets. (Reach)

A resident caught between the two sides is Katie Wallis, 26, who runs several businesses benefiting from the tourist trade along the coast but finds it impossible to get a property for her and her partner.

She said: "Everything's just gone rocket high. For people like me and my boyfriend – trying to get our first property is ridiculous.

"Even renting is hard; a flat in Whitby the size of this shop will cost you £600 a month."

Wallis added: "It's hard for me because I want them to come here but at the same time I do want to live here. I think there's enough holiday cottages and I don't think you can have more people."

Watch: Michael Gove announces holiday lets could require new permissions in bid to stop second homes 'pushing out' locals

Becca Oliver, who was born and raised in the village and works in a clothing store, said she bought her detached three-bedroom house in the top end for £225,000 eight years ago but a nearby bungalow recently sold for £420,000.

"It's finding that balance,” she said.

“I'm not slating holiday makers because we need them and we love having them but it's about finding that balance for both.

“We have a great community with lovely people and we don't want to lose that."

Other areas where properties are much-sought after are Staithes, Sandsend, Runswick Bay and Whitby where tourists have long been visiting the beaches and going on coastal walks.

How many people own second homes?

Data from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government showed secondary homes (holiday homes or rental properties) reached a new high in 2018/19, the most recent period data was available for.

Analysis from property management company Houst showed the number of second homes rose by 30% to 495,000, up from 382,000 in 2013/14.

Nearly all of these (451,000) were located in England.

What are the rules on second homes?

Property owners usually have to pay council tax on a property they own or rent that’s not their main home, such as holiday homes.

Policies to mitigate the impacts of high rates of second home ownership can be implemented by local government, including planning restrictions and council tax.

The central government can also intervene through the planning law and policy, taxes, and regulation of short-term lettings and holiday accommodation.

Converting homes into short-term holiday lets would require planning permission under government plans to stop residents being “pushed out of cherished towns”.

The government has said it will consult on the change and on another proposal for a registration scheme for short-term holiday lets.