KEVIN Hollinrake MP is right to suggest taxing overseas owners of British property (The Yorkshire Post, January 11). In London many new builds are owned abroad, with doubtful Russian oligarchs high among them. Much of that property is left empty.
However he’s wrong to imply that unaffordable housing is just a matter of lack of supply. All around I see houses being built. There are plenty of second homes even in York, often unoccupied for most of the year. I doubt if there is a major shortage though landowners anxious to sell land for buiding would have us believe otherwise.
House price inflation also arises from the classic definition of inflation, “too much money chasing too few goods”. With lenders advancing large sums to buy-to-let landlords, and people seeing returns on rentals well above saving accounts, there’s been a rush to buy, jacking up prices.
Kevin Hollinrake should go further and advocate a tax on all second home owners. They will of course plead poverty, but it will bring some sense to the rural property market and allow real country people access to homes near where they work, helping to avoid the near empty villages of the Yorkshire Dales and Moors.
From: David Craggs, Goldthorpe.
WHAT an excellent, yet disturbing article on ‘holiday lets’, that appeared recently in your newspaper. I cannot think of a better example of the inequalities in our society than this. Of course we’ve been aware of the problem for years, but I was staggered to read that up to a quarter of the properties in the Yorkshire Dales National Park were unoccupied for most of the year.
What is needed in these areas is the introduction of a very simple rule – if you buy or already own a property it has to be lived in full-time by yourself or people you approve of.
Local councils are surely to blame for the present situation. They witnessed the first examples of this ‘takeover’, but chose not to take any action. Didn’t one forward-thinking councillor stand up and point out that if the practice was allowed to continue, ultimately shops would permanently close, as would schools? Bus services would be curtailed or stopped altogether, and that the community spirit, so vital in these areas, would simply disappear. It is doubtful that those who do decide to holiday for the odd few days would have any sort of allegiance to the area where they were staying.
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