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Second home sales rise in Thanet as first-time buyers frozen out

Second home ownership has rocketed in Thanet amid concerns first-time buyers are being frozen out of the market.

Across Kent, one in five properties were purchased by those not intending to live full-time in the property – despite a hike in stamp duty introduced two years ago to reduce the number.

In Thanet that figure has soared to 28% - the highest in the county.

Second home stats (4654057)
Second home stats (4654057)

The figures come from HM Revenues and Customs (HMRC) data and include property investors and landlords buying houses to rent out.

Across Kent, around 6,480 were bought in the financial year 2017-18, with a combined value of £1.944 billion.

That’s despite an extra 3% stamp duty charge on additional properties, introduced in April 2016 as part of a government effort to deter buy-to-let landlords, property investors and second home owners.

In England, almost one in four properties bought last year were classified as second homes.

The number bought last year in Kent has increased by 16% since 2016-17, when around 5,590 second homes were purchased.

Homes for sale. Picture: Yui Mok/PA Wire (4667892)
Homes for sale. Picture: Yui Mok/PA Wire (4667892)

The rise in Thanet is said to be down to its emergence as a destination fuelled by some of the cheapest house prices in the county.

But Damian Cooke, owner of Thanet estate agent Cooke and Co, says landlords still have a vital role to play in the housing market. “It’s often distorted because of the buoyancy of the London market – many properties are being bought here as investments as opposed to holiday homes and smaller landlords are being put off buying after what was a huge increase in stamp duty for buy-to-let properties

“It is very rare we see first-time buyers through the doors; more needs to be done and there has to be more affordable houses.”

In total, around £266 million was collected from stamp duty in Kent last year.

The National Housing Federation, which represents housing associations, said it was concerned about the impact that buying extra properties has on local communities.

Policy leader Will Jeffwitz said: “If families and young people are priced out of their local communities it can have a hugely demanding impact on community life - with village shops, schools and pubs closing in alarming numbers as a result.”

HMRC figures say that duty on additional properties made up 36% of that amount.

The Treasury said that the government’s priority is to “support first time buyers”.

A Treasury spokesman said: “Higher rates of stamp duty on second homes means we can afford to offer more support to first time buyers through the stamp duty relief.”

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