Numbers of second homes in Devon continue to soar. East Devon second only to South Hams

2687 in East Devon one in every 23 properties!

Is this the market we are sacrificing green fields for? – Owl

Parts of Devon have the highest rates of second homes in the country. A total of 13,363 properties in Devon are classed as second homes, according to new research by Action on Empty Homes – an 11.2 per cent increase compared to 2021, when there were 12,019 such properties.

David Dubas-Fisher

These are homes that are unlived in, but are fully furnished. The numbers also include holiday lets like AirBnBs as well as “buy-to-leave” properties, which are purchased as investments that are left unoccupied in the expectation that their value will rise.

South Hams has the highest number of any local authority in the region, with a total of 3,947 – and 14.2 per cent increase from last year. It means that one in every 11 properties in South Hams is now either a second home or a long-term empty homes, the 4th highest rate in England.

Some 8.6 per cent of properties in the area are classed as second homes. Only the City of London (22.3 per cent), North Norfolk (9.8 per cent) and the Isles of Scilly (8.7 per cent) rank higher. East Devon has seen a 14.4 per cent increase in second homes in the past

In North Devon the rate of second homes or of long-term empty homes – a property that has been empty for more than six months, and doesn’t have a statutory exemption from council tax – is one in every 21 properties, while in East Devon it’s one in every 23, in Torridge it’s one in every 24, and in West Devon it’s one in every 34.

There are 3,828 LTEHs in our county according to Action on Empty Homes’ research. That’s up from 2,987 in 2021, an increase of 28.2 per cent.

Chris Bailey National Campaign Manager for Action on Empty Homes said: “After more than a decade of intense housing crisis it is shocking to see long-term empty homes in England rise to 257,331 – another 20,000 more wasted empties, while nearly 100,000 families are trapped in Temporary Accommodation, costing the nation one and a half billion pounds a year. This is good money wasted on often extremely poor quality housing. Homeless families need genuinely affordable lifetime homes.

“A new national empty homes programme is long overdue – the government needs to step up to the plate and offer funding and incentives to get these homes back into use. Long-term empties are a huge missed opportunity to invest in green retrofit and create new jobs.

“Continued growth in long-term empty homes while our housing crisis intensifies sends a clear message, we are failing to meet housing need and failing to make best use of our existing homes.”

Both West Devon and South Hams councils have declared housing a crisis. Due to a number of factors, including the lack of rented accommodation which is available for longer than six months, an excessive rise in house prices due to second home-owners, the conversion of properties to Airbnb’s and people moving into the District since the pandemic. South Hams District Council last Autumn said it has no choice but to declare a Housing Crisis.

Local Authority: Second homes 2022

South Hams: 3947

East Devon: 2687

North Devon: 1809

Teignbridge: 1320

Torridge: 1142

Plymouth UA: 1107

West Devon: 650

Exeter: 505

Mid Devon: 196