No evidence house prices impacted by second homes

Wells Harbour

The harbour at Wells-next-the-Sea, where almost 40pc of properties are now holiday lets or second homes - Credit: Chris Bishop

A long-awaited report into the impact of second homes and holiday lets across north Norfolk has found there are no "tangible positive or negative impacts".

The north of the county has an unusually high number of holiday lets and spare properties.

But the report finds there is "no clear evidence that high numbers of holiday and second homes effects house prices and affordability" in the district.

Morston, North Norfolk

Council figures have shown that 52.2pc of homes in the north Norfolk village of Morston are either holiday lets or second homes - Credit: James Bass

Holiday lets make the district council far more cash than second homes – with 40p in every pound of business rates kept by NNDC versus 8p of council tax. 

Councillors have argued a "nuanced" approach is required with a balance struck between business interests and locals needing housing.

The report follows a call for action on the issue launched by Liberal Democrat councillor Liz Withington, after it was revealed that one in 10 houses in the area are second homes - the highest proportion outside the City of London.

The report will go before the overview and scrutiny committee next week, which is expected to make a series of recommendations, including looking at how council tax and planning restrictions could be used to tackle problem areas.

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Ms Withington welcomed the report, which she said showed that blanket restrictions, such as one used in St Ives in Cornwall - where new properties have a covenant which ensures they go to local people - can have unintended consequences.

She said: “A blanket ban stresses other areas such as employment, wage levels and house prices in other areas of the housing market that haven’t previously been affected.” 

Instead, Ms Withington welcomed a government proposal which could allow for council tax to be doubled on second homes, which she described as a more "nuanced" approach.

Norfolk councillors have called on the government to review a law allowing second-home owners to avo

North Norfolk district councillor Liz Withington - Credit: Archant

Nigel Dixon, the chair of the scrutiny committee, said it showed there was “no silver bullet”.

Instead, mitigation measures should be explored for areas high in second homes and holiday lets, such as coastal areas and near the Broads.

He said: "In some cases, we do not have the powers and we need to look at how we can influence national legislation to do what is necessary."

Mr Dixon said he expected further reports would be needed in the future, with more involvement from town and parish councils, to get their views on what measures are needed.

NNDC portfolio holder for business economic development and tourismNigel Dixon.

Nigel Dixon, the chair of NNDC's scrutiny committee - Credit: Archant

He also stressed that a balance would need to be struck between businesses and locals with whatever policy ends up being used.

As of April 1, 2022, North Norfolk district had 7,169 second and holiday homes - 4,508 second homes and 2,661 holiday homes.