A letting agent in Cornwall who blamed second home-owners for a lack of affordable rented property in the county has sparked a social media storm.
Deborah Plowright, of CAM Residential Lettings in Hayle, believes the Stamp Duty holiday – making it easier for wealthy buyers to snap up a second home in Cornwall – is at fault.
In a Facebook social media post, Deborah explained that for every advertised two-bedroom terrace house in the town, the agency gets about 100 enquiries in just one or two days.
“Don’t get me wrong, I’m not criticising the second home buyers,” posted Deborah. “Let’s be honest, most of us would do the same if we had the money.
“It’s not their fault and in a lot of ways these cash rich buyers help keep a lot of smaller local businesses afloat. But we desperately need more affordable housing stock for locals. Probably with caveats for resale to ensure the properties stay in local hands and stay affordable.”
Perhaps unsurprisingly, her honest comments on social media weren’t met with universal agreement and the post was deleted on other sites.
On the agency’s Facebook page she says: “I shared it to various groups and think the majority of the comments were on a Cornwall trade site but it looks like not only has the post been removed but I have too! Shame as there was a really good debate with lots of strong opinions.”
Deborah tells local media that the agency is being swamped with enquiries. “I actually dread advertising a property because it is a tidal wave when we put one out. And it’s heart-breaking – everyone gives you a story about why they need to rent a place, but there isn’t anything.”
The pandemic has put Cornwall in high demand, with reports of bidding wars over properties which would normally not get much interest. Recent data found that the average house price is more than eight times the average salary.