Areas of Dorset have turned into ‘ghost towns’ as wealthy landlords snap up second homes

A new map reveals the top 20 coastal areas that are fast becoming ‘ghost towns’ as wealthy homeowners snap up second homes. Three Dorset towns make the list, being among the most sought-after locations for holiday homes.

However, this is at the expense of locals who claim that wealthy landlords are buying homes in the area, which prevents residents from buying or renting properties. Coastal areas seem to be particularly sought after, especially as Dorset is home to the historic Jurassic Coast.

The three areas affected are Bournemouth, Weymouth and Lyme Regis, ranked 7th, 10th and 19th respectively. Bournemouth and Weymouth rank above Torquay in Devon and Padstow in Cornwall – two areas that are also in demand for second homes.

Read more: The most expensive homes in each region of Dorset in June 2022

Salcombe in Devon is in first place, followed by Falmouth in Cornwall in second and North Berwick in Scotland in third. Below is a comprehensive list, compiled by Rightmove, of the top 20 coastal areas that have become the UK’s hotspot for second homes.

  1. Salcombe, Devon
  2. Falmouth, Cornwall
  3. North Berwick, Scotland
  4. St Ives, Cornwall
  5. Newquay, Cornwall
  6. Brixham, Devon
  7. Bournemouth, Dorset
  8. Whistable, Kent
  9. Whitby, Yorkshire
  10. Weymouth, Dorset
  11. Tenby, Wales
  12. Torquay, Devon
  13. Blackpool, Lancashire
  14. Padstow, Cornwall
  15. Ullapool, Scotland
  16. Scarborough, Yorkshire
  17. Great Yarmouth, Norfolk
  18. Bude, Cornwall
  19. Lyme Regis, Dorset
  20. Filey, Yorkshire

While homes in Dorset appear to be bought up, other neighboring counties are also suffering the effects of second home purchases. The Mirror reports that rising property prices in Cornwall have angered locals who have failed to climb the property ladder and some have even started targeting what they believe to be properties empty with graffiti. A wall in the village of St Agnès carried the message: “Secondary home owners give something back: rent or sell your empty houses to the local population at a fair price.

Jasmin Or, 24, grew up in the beauty spot of St Ives where she says everything has been turned into a holiday home, leaving tenants with little choice. Cornwall Council said there was “an imbalance between supply and demand” the county had never seen before, with landlords and businesses acquiring properties and converting them into summer homes.

Jasmin says she is struggling to find a new place to rent when her lease expires on May 10 and said “there are no more houses.” The hotel worker has exhausted rental agents and spare room sites, and fears that in three weeks she will be sleeping rough. She told the Mirror: “I wonder if this place will look as good to me when I’m sleeping on a bench in three weeks. Everything has been turned into second homes now and that’s the problem.

“These are all Air BnBs and a lot of locals have been kicked out of their homes to spend the summer.” St Ives MP Derek Thomas said in December around 100 families were vying for every three-bedroom house available in parts of Cornwall.

The housing problem accelerated during the pandemic when “staycations” exploded. In Whitby, Yorkshire, which is ninth on the list, frustrated people have voted to try and drive out second home owners – as they drive up house prices.

A local referendum saw Whitby residents vote overwhelmingly to ban the sale of new homes and land to people who would not live there full time. Residents of the North Yorkshire town say the wealthy south makes it unaffordable and the sense of community is shattered. Nearly 20% of homes are second homes or vacation rentals, more than double the proportion 20 years ago. House prices have ballooned to an average of £254,218 over the past year as locals say they are overpriced.

The average salary in the city is £18,900. This means that young people growing up in Whitby have been forced to relocate as property prices have risen by 20% in just one year.

Monday’s poll, which was called following a town meeting last month, reflects growing anger at homes that sit empty for much of the year. However, Scarborough Council said the result is ‘no more and no less than an expression of the views of the electorate in the parish who voted on the ballot, and is not binding on any organisation’.

Whitby Community Network said the results “clearly demonstrate the strength of sentiment in the local community”. He said in a statement: “We hope our elected councilors will take notice and act.”

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