People who own second homes aren’t evil. I agree with the Telegraph on that. If you’ve got the means and can afford a home on the coast, why not? And it would seem perfectly rational behaviour during the last decade as you felt confident that increases in house prices would make your holiday home a decent investment too.
There’s nothing wrong with someone buying a second home, but that doesn’t mean it’s good public policy or that it should be encouraged or subsidised by the government. So, it’s good to see second homes getting the same council tax treatment as any other home. The government proposes to give councils the power to abolish the council tax discounts on second homes, which currently are between 10 and 50 per cent. Of course, it will be up to individual council to take up those powers.
Should a government go further than that and tax second homes at a higher rate, perhaps to reinvest into new housing? That’s a move the Telegraph would definitely call evil and unjust.
But it’s also pretty unjust that there are more 50-59 years olds with a second home (17%), than there are people in their twenties with one home*.
Until we have enough homes the distribution of the homes and who gets access to them matters and not just in the social sector.
(For an unexpected champion of the intergenerational cause, you may want to check this out by Jeremy Paxman in, of all places, the Daily Mail.)
*I feel sure this is right and have written it elsewhere. But I’ve completely lost the source. Any better informed readers than I may like to stick it in the comments. Otherwise, I fear that I’ll have to stop quoting it.