News analysis

The government needs a lesson in housing supply and demand

Residents of Whitby voting for a limit on the sale of newly built properties as second homes is one more in an increasing list of signs that the country’s housing policies are in need of urgent attention.

The poll asked if all new-build and additional housing should be restricted to full-time local occupation as a primary residence. The answer was a resounding yes, with 2,111 people voting in favour and 157 against. It might be a small sample, with Scarborough Borough Council at pains to point out that it is not binding on any organisation – including the local council – but it shows the strength of feeling about making sure that future policy reflects the current situation.

Whitby is not the first place to consider such a measure. Residents of St Ives in Cornwall voted in a referendum in 2016 on banning the construction of properties intended for use as second homes. More than 80 per cent agreed with the proposal, and that led to the introduction of a “principal-residence policy”. The port town of Fowey and the village of Mevagissey followed suit. Other councils, such as Brighton, are currently being asked to consider similar proposals.

Xural.com

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