Torbay’s ‘perfect storm’ housing crisis forces families out
The head of Torbay City Council has called on the Housing Minister to step in and resolve a housing crisis on the English Riviera.
“The beauty of the bay hides a dire situation,” said Cllr Steve Darling in his letter to Minister Christopher Pincher. “It’s a perfect storm for those who work in the rental business. “
Housing prices in the bay have skyrocketed during the pandemic thanks to a combination of stamp duty “vacations” and increased demand from people looking to work from home and moving to Torbay to do so.
Additionally, many owners of multiple properties are offering them for vacations on Airbnb rather than releasing them in the local rental market.
Cllr Darling says he wants the government to do more to help families desperate for housing.
In his letter to the Minister he wrote: “While the housing market is booming in Torbay, which is great news for landlords, it is not so good for the large number of people who are renting out their homes. .
“The pandemic has forced many of us to leave our offices and return home to work. Remote working has become more acceptable and now many people are re-evaluating their choices.
“This has led more and more homeowners to choose to live in the countryside or by the sea rather than making the daily commute. Combine that with the stamp duty holiday and it has helped drive up demand and house prices in attractive places like Torbay. “
He said the surge in demand was having a big impact on people renting properties in the bay, accounting for more than a quarter of the housing market. Rents are rising to unmanageable levels and more and more households are staying in rented properties because they cannot afford to buy their own homes.
Cllr Darling added, “Some landlords are pulling out of the rental market and ending leases to sell their properties to take advantage of rising house prices.
“Some private owners are looking to Airbnb to reap the benefits of the influx of visitors this summer and to earn higher income.
“It creates a perfect storm for those in the rental industry. There are up to 50 people applying for every private rented property that comes onto the market in Torbay, resulting in stiff competition.
This is goods – not the coronavirus – which is becoming Devon’s hottest topic, now the terrible pandemic is brewing towards its conclusion.
As city dwellers head to the glorious Southwest to vacation – and live – in droves, there are clearly clear winners and losers.
Are there too many second homes? Are landlords taking advantage of a stay boom and prioritizing AirBnb customers over permanent tenants? Is Devon in the grip of a housing crisis?
These are questions we will be asking in the content challenge as part of the campaign. Prices outside Devon.
But it will never be anything but gloomy and pessimistic.
We’ve rounded up homes under £ 150,000 in the county that are perfect for first-time buyers and we’ll have regular updates on new build developments with affordable homes – and there will be more positive content like that here to come.
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The housing shortage is also hitting people who are going through difficult times and rely on the municipality to provide them with emergency accommodation.
“For some of these people there is no room at the inn,” said Cllr Darling.
“Temporary housing has become like gold dust and sometimes the only housing available is outside the area, as far as Bath. In a recent emergency, three separate people in need of our assistance were offered accommodation outside of Torbay late at night, several miles away.
Torbay City Council has seen an increase in housing applications from families, and there are currently 149 households in temporary overnight accommodation, including 49 families with children.
Cllr Darling continued, “A lot of people find it difficult to keep a roof over their head.
“There is a desperate need for more rental housing in Torbay and we would be happy to know how the government can facilitate this. “