Seaside Town Where Londoners Have Pushed Prices from £25k to £500k
Padstow, a charming seaside town on the North Cornish coast, has always been popular among Londoners seeking a scenic getaway. However, over the past few years, the trend of buying timeshares, second homes, or even relocating has caused a rift between the local community and outsiders. The town’s idyllic fisherman’s cottages, once affordable at £25,000, now cost around £500,000, pricing out the locals and distorting the property market. Is it fair for Londoners to buy up these properties and turn a small, tight-knit community into a seasonal playground?
Londoners vs. Locals
The influx of Londoners in Padstow has led to a clash of interests. Londoners flock to the town for its picturesque scenery, but their needs, wants, and budgets are often out of sync with the locals’. Builders prefer to construct larger, more luxurious properties to maximize profits, leaving little room for affordable starter homes that the locals need. The cost of land is also prohibitively expensive, leaving locals struggling to get a foothold on the property ladder. It’s easy to see why some locals are hesitant to speak out against Londoners’ impact. The town isn’t large, and odds are there’s a connection to someone with a stake in the tourist industry.
The People of Padstow Speak Out
One Padstow resident anonymously told MyLondon, “You should be talking to people in London about what they put back into Cornwall, rather than talking to Cornish people asking what they’re putting back?” This sentiment was echoed in a letter from “The people of Padstow” sent to a second homeowner during lockdown. The letter accused outsiders of “overburdening the system” and using Cornwall’s limited resources. It asked Londoners to return home, as they were not welcome at this time, citing Covid rules about remaining in one’s primary residence.
Council Ban on Second Homes
The prevalence of second homes led the council to propose a ban on new ones in 2021. Over two-thirds of the town’s properties are now secondary residences, leading to concerns about the local housing market. Padstow Parish Council clerk Kathy Pemberton understands the appeal of the town but also wants to protect the community’s green spaces and maintain them for visitors and residents alike. The principle residency requirement is no different from other councils, she notes, and one size does not fit all. Housing needs vary widely, and older and younger people, as well as renters, should be considered.
The Covid pandemic has changed the property market in ways no one could have predicted. Remote work became the norm, prompting many people to re-evaluate where they want to live. The closure of offices and the switch to remote, flexible work arrangements have driven a new wave of city dwellers to seaside towns like Padstow. With a lower cost of living and a better work-life balance, Londoners and other city residents can increasingly make a permanent move to these towns. Experts predict that this trend will continue, putting further pressure on the local housing market.
– The average asking price for a property in Padstow over the last year was £696,883, according to Rightmove.
– Two-thirds of Padstow’s properties are now secondary residences.
– St. Ives in Cornwall was one of the first towns to introduce a principle residency requirement.
– The average cost of a detached property in Padstow is just under a million pounds, higher than London’s average sale of £550,475.
The surge of Londoners and other wealthy outsiders in Padstow has put a strain on the local economy, particularly in terms of the housing market. The lack of affordable starter homes and rental options has priced many locals out of the market. The council’s ban on new second homes could help alleviate the problem, but ultimately, more needs to be done to ensure that these towns remain accessible to their local communities.
Padstow, like many other seaside towns, is facing a housing crisis. The influx of Londoners and other wealthy outsiders has distorted the property market and priced out many locals. The council’s ban on new second homes is a step in the right direction, but more needs to be done to ensure that these towns remain accessible to everyone. As remote work continues to become the norm, more people may flock to these areas, putting further pressure on the housing market. Ultimately, striking a balance between locals’ needs and outsiders’ desires is key to preserving the character and community of these towns.