Problem

Proliferation of second homes

Other Names:
Negative economic effects of holiday homes
Negative environmental effects of vacation homes
Nature:
Longer holidays and higher incomes have led to families in developed countries being increasingly willing and able to buy second homes. Numbers of people buy property for a weekend holiday retreat, for retirement, or as an investment at home or abroad. The reservation of two homes for one family decreases the number of available houses at a time when many people are either homeless or ill-housed. Construction of such houses forces house prices up in areas such as low-income farming communities. Whilst in some cases renovation of historic buildings as second homes may have a valuable environmental impact, homes which take the form of caravans, chalets or apartment buildings exert extra pressures on beautiful areas and alter the character of a small neighbourhoods. Vacation home construction, encouraging more of them (along with roads and related amenities) to be built in pristine or environmentally-sensitive regions. Such favourable circumstances also encourage the construction of larger homes, on larger pieces of land, with consequently longer access roads.
Incidence:
The second home phenomenon is international: Arabs buy in London, the Dutch in the British and French countryside, the British in Spain and the USA. It is estimated that in the UK there are about 700,000, or 5%, second homes. At the current rate of increase it is estimated that by the year 2000, 10% of UK households could own a second home. This level is believed to be lower than that of other European countries. At the same time, there are some thousands of homeless, and nearly 20% of the housing stock is officially classified unfit or in unsatisfactory condition. In 1993, there were 10,000 people in the USA with two or more homes.
Claim:
According to a 1999 report, in most EU countries, starting with those in the south, many households - often more than four out of 10 - would like a second home, but cannot afford one.
Counter Claim:
Second homes can play a significant role in the economic development of depressed regions and can bring new life into historic buildings which would otherwise not be adequately preserved. They may also help to reclaim derelict land.

According to a 1999 report, as for second homes Greeks and Spaniards were in the lead, among the European Union countries, with nearly two households out of 10 owning a second home. Luxembourg, Italy, France, Austria and Portugal followed. The Dutch brought up the rear.

Related Problems:
Marginal living space
Problem Type:
F: Fuzzy exceptional problems
Related UN Sustainable Development Goals:
GOAL 8: Decent Work and Economic GrowthGOAL 11: Sustainable Cities and CommunitiesGOAL 15: Life on Land
Date of last update
19.11.1999 – 00:00 CET