Locals living in ‘tents and yurts because of second home owners’, says housing officer
Locals are being forced to live in tents and yurts because they’re being priced out of the housing market by “second-home owners”, it has been claimed.
Housing officer Rachel, who lives in a £400-a-month rented static caravan on a farm near the village of Solva, in Pembrokeshire, made the claim in an upcoming episode of A Home of Our Own on BBC Radio 4.
She told the programme, which lifts the lid on the housing crisis engulfing the UK, that friends are living locally in tents and yurts, because Solva, near St Davids, is so popular with second-home owners.
Rachel, who grew up locally, and lives with her partner Angus, said finding a house, flat or even caravan to rent long-term at an affordable rate is very difficult.
The couple say any mortgage could get would not be big enough to enable them to buy a property in the area.
On second home owners, Rachel said: “They can make so much money with Airbnbs and holiday lets, we can’t compete. At some point, if we can’t find anywhere to rent, let alone buy, we are going to have to move away. Living like this is not sustainable.”
In one part of the programme, while walking along the Pembrokeshire Coast Path, Rachel points out a stretch of development land on the edge of Solva, where the building plots alone are selling for around £500,000. This is before a brick is laid. Finished homes would sell for much more.
The couple say they have struggled through one cold winter in the caravan they’re renting.
Angus, who works with young people in residential care, said: “The walls are only 5mm thick. We didn’t spend much time in the bedroom in winter. It gets damp. We slept in the living area with a gas burner on.
He suggested Pembrokeshire gets overlooked, saying: “It often feels like we get forgotten about.”
According to Prof Paul Cheshire the housing crisis is getting more acute.
He said: “The rich have been getting richer relative to the rest of us. So demand for houses in really outstanding locations has increased, and those prices – relatively – have gone up more than in other areas.”
The episode of A Home of Our Own is due to air on 15 October on BBC Radio 4.
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