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Holiday homes are ‘hollowing out’ coastal areas, says MP

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Coastal communities are being “hollowed out irretrievably” by a surge in holiday homes, an MP has warned, as new figures showed more than 17,000 properties in England have been “flipped” into short-term lets since Covid-19.The poll came as MPs and campaign groups warned that vital public services – including schools, trains and buses – were in danger of vanishing from tourist hotspots due to a shortage of affordable homes.“We’re sleepwalking into a new chapter of the housing crisis where communities are being hollowed out in a way that is irretrievable,” said the Labour MP Luke Pollard. “We’re beyond the tipping point in some places.”The Covid pandemic has “turbo-charged” the housing crisis in many rural and coastal communities, Pollard said, as wealthy outsiders snap up holiday retreats – taking properties off the market and pushing prices beyond the reach of local residents.This week, residents in the Yorkshire seaside town of Whitby became the latest to voice their anger about the housing crisis when they voted overwhelmingly for curbs on second homes.House prices in seaside resorts increased by 13.9% on average last year, outpacing the national rise of 9.9%, according to the property website Rightmove.

All but one of the 10 areas where house prices have doubled in the last decade are by the sea.In Whitby, there are 20 times more Airbnb listings than properties available to buy on Rightmove, according to research by the Guardian – 1,349 short-term lets compared with 67 homes for sale.In Cornwall, there were more than 13,000 holiday stays online in April – compared with 3,103 properties for sale.

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