Holiday lets: The Northumberland villages where one third of houses are not available to live in

As many as one-in-three properties in some parts of the North East are holiday lets rather than homes for families, an analysis by ITV News Tyne Tees has revealed.

The number of properties listed on websites such as Airbnb in some villages has quadrupled in the past five years.

The rise in demand for property in some Northumberland hotspots like Seahouses, Beadnell and Bamburgh has sent property prices skyrocketing.

Seahouses is a honeypot holiday destination which has seen property prices skyrocket as the demand for holiday lets goes up. Credit: PA

Who is being affected?

Young couples like Mollie Bone and Thomas Thompson are struggling to find anywhere to live. They have recently left Seahouses, despite both working there, because they could not find anywhere affordable.

Ms Bone is an apprentice butcher, and told ITV News Tyne Tees about one house in particular which demonstrated the problem.

She said: ”It was run down, and it needed a lot done to it. We thought it would be in our price range and it was, it was £145,000.

"The asking price ended up doubling and it was nearer £300,000. So way out of our price range.”

Mr Thompson works as a gardener and until recently, had spent his whole life in Seahouses. he and moving away has been challenging.

He said: “Getting to and from Seahouses when family are working and you're working, you don't really get time to see each other when just before we lived across the street.

“The biggest change is not seeing your friends and going out and doing things on the weekend with them because they're just not where you are.”

Thomas Thompson and his partner Mollie Bone have had to move out of Seahouses due to the increased property prices. Credit: ITV News Tyne Tees

What does the data show?

An ITV News Tyne Tees analysis of data from the government’s Valuation Office Agency (VOA) shows that in Beadnell and Bamburgh in Northumberland, more than 30% of homes are now holiday lets.

In many places, that number has been increasing. Figures shared with ITV News by the analysis website AirDNA shows that in Seahouses there are four times the number of AirBnB listings compared to 2018.

In Beadnell, and in Filey in North Yorkshire, the number has trebled.

Overall, VOA figures show that across the North East, the number of registered holiday lets has increased by 36% since 2020, the second highest rise in the country.

Rachel Douglas is struggling to keep up with the demand to clean holiday lets and is having to hire staff from as far away as Berwick. Credit: ITV News Tyne Tees

What do businesses think?

It might sound like good news for people like Rachel Douglas who has a business, Home from Home Housekeeping, which cleans dozens of holiday lets each week.

Yet she told ITV Tyne Tees the sheer number of holiday properties on the Northumberland coast is actually making her business harder.

She said: “We have between 12 and 15 staff working for us in the peak of the season. We are fully staffed at the moment, which is brilliant.

"But for the first time ever I've been pulling staff in from as far away as Berwick. These were traditionally jobs for people living in the village, and there is just not the community of workers here anymore.”

While Ms Douglas relies on tourism for her business, she added there is not the right mix of properties locally.

She said: “We categorically welcome tourists with open arms. We need tourism, but it has to be balanced and it has to not be at the deficit of the community.”

Bill Shiel's boat company relies on tourists but staff now often live far from Seahouses. Credit: ITV News Tyne Tees

That is a view shared by Michael Craig, who works for Billy Shiel’s Boat Tours, taking tourists from Seahouses on boat trips around the Farne Islands.

Despite his work as a seafarer, he has to commute from Alnwick, which is 15 miles inland.

He said: “It's very frustrating for all the locals. I mean, yes, the tourism does bring a good bit of money in for the local economy, but it's not much of a local economy when there's nobody local left in the village.

"Everyone's been priced out of the market and having to move further afield.”

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