Sidmouth is the second home capital of East Devon, reveals FOI
PUBLISHED: 06:30 27 December 2017
Sidmouth is the second home capital of East Devon, a Freedom of Information (FoI) request has revealed.
According to data released by East Devon District Council (EDDC), there is one second home for every 17 properties in the town.
The statistics revealed there were 7,885 households in Sidmouth and, of these, 471 were second homes, meaning they made up around six per cent of the total number of dwellings.
An FoI request, submitted by the Herald, did however reveal that the number of second homes across the district had slowly been decreasing since 2015.
Across East Devon there are 69,333 households, with 2,339 being used as second homes. This has fallen by 2.8 per cent in the last three years. Estate agents have suggested this is down to the increase in stamp duty when purchasing a second house.
Exmouth had the second highest number of second homes with, on average, one second home for every 38 properties.
The third highest was Seaton, where around 5.4 per cent of the total number of properties are second homes. For every 19 properties in Seaton, there is around one second home.
Ken Prosser, 76, from Kidderminster, bought a second home in Sidmouth in 2004 and spoke to the Herald to share his view on the subject. He said, when he first bought his house, he was given a 25 per cent council tax reduction which has now completely disappeared.
He added the council tax he paid was for local services which were enjoyed by all the permanent residents and not really by the second home owners. Ken said: “Permanent residents are surely being subsidised already by people like me. Without the second home owners, a significant number of properties would remain empty permanently. As a consequence, the value of houses in the valley would most likely fall and I wonder whether the permanent residents would be happy with that situation.
“When I got married, I had to leave the area that I and my family lived in and move to somewhere affordable. There was and is no God-given right to be able to live where you want to and I guess that my early decision means that I can now afford two homes and I don’t see why my efforts and abilities should be cheapened because everyone but me apparently is happy to see the price of their properties fall on the basis that second home owners are perceived to be nasty people. They’re not, they are just people trying to fill their aims in life and many like me started at the bottom, if not deeper.”
Resident B Thomas, 32, who has lived in Sidmouth all his life, also spoke to the Herald and said: “There is a flat directly opposite that is owned by a couple from the South East.
“Their flat is empty for 45 weeks of the year; if not more. They also own a property in the West Bay area and sparingly use that as well. How is that fair on the younger generation or people who have to pay extortionate rental prices?”
Mike Dibble, a director at Bradleys Estate Agents, said anybody who bought a second home now paid an extra three per cent in stamp duty.
He added: “For example, if you are a first-time buyer and purchase a home for £250,000, the stamp duty would be £2,500.
“But, if you are buying a second home or a buy-to-let then you would pay an extra £7,500, paying a total of £10,000 in stamp duty.”
Mr Dibble added that the estate agents sold ‘nowhere near’ as many second homes as they used to.
An EDDC spokeswoman said: “There are a large number of second homes in East Devon for which the owners pay council tax in the same way as do all other home owners in the district.”
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