Housing campaigners call for action as census reveals there are nearly 1,500 holiday homes in Northumberland

Northumberland had almost 1,500 holiday homes in 2021, new figures show.
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The 2021 census figures from the Office for National Statistics highlight the growing problem holiday lets are having on the housing market, reducing supply and driving up house prices, especially in picturesque coastal areas.

The figures show there were approximately 1,445 holiday homes in Northumberland.

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Nearly 500 of them (495) are in the arc of Seahouses, Belford and Wooler.

Beadnell has one of the highest proportions of holiday homes in the country.Beadnell has one of the highest proportions of holiday homes in the country.
Beadnell has one of the highest proportions of holiday homes in the country.

Second in the county is the Alnmouth and Longhoughton area with 190 followed by 175 in the triangle making up Amble, Swarland and Shilbottle and 100 in the Rothbury and Longframlington area.

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But housing campaigners have warned that the latest government figures on holiday and second home ownership do not reveal the true scale of the problem and that the issue could be 10 times worse once short-term lets are factored in.

Chris Bailey, national campaign manager at Action on Empty Homes, said: “The latest ONS work on holiday homes might seem shocking but I’m afraid the bad news is that it is just the tip of an iceberg of homes sucked out of use.

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“The issue could easily be ten times as serious across the country as the latest ONS figures suggest. We really need the Government to introduce a proper licensing scheme so that we can assess the real impact.”

Dan Wilson Craw, deputy director at Generation Rent, added: "There is fierce competition for the limited number of homes coming on the market and it is pricing out people who grew up in these communities."

Mr Wilson Craw called on local authorities to license holiday let operators and introduce higher council tax on second homes. He also urged the Government to remove "tax perks which make holiday lets even more profitable than normal tenancies".

A Government spokesperson said it has already introduced a higher rate of stamp duty for second properties, closed tax loopholes on holiday lets, and will give councils the power to apply a council tax premium of up to 100% on second homes through the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill.

They added: "We are taking action to combat the adverse impact that second homes can have on local communities, particularly in tourist areas."