‘Close to tears’ – letting agent turns away locals for second-time buyers in Cornwall

Average house prices in Cornwall are now eight times more than the average salary
Average house prices in Cornwall are now eight times more than the average salary in the county Credit: ITV West Country

A letting agent feels stuck in a "heartbreaking" situation as she has had to turn away upset locals from properties in Cornwall.

Deborah Plowright, a lettings agent at CAM Residential Lettings in Hayle, has had to deny desperate buyers from homes because of the rise in people looking for second homes in the Duchy.

She has said it is too easy for people to buy a second home and too difficult for those wanting to get on the property ladder and sympathises with locals.

Deborah said: "People are getting really upset. Sometimes I come off the phone and am close to tears myself."

House prices in Cornwall have sky-rocketed during the pandemic with people engaging in bidding wars over properties which would ordinarily have not gained much interest.

As a result, the average house price in Cornwall is eight times higher than the average salary and wealthier individuals are more likely to be able to purchase a second home instead of first-time buyers.

In a social media post, Deborah said for every two-bedroom terrace house in Hayle which her company advertises, they get around 100 enquiries in just a day or two.

She said: "We only deal with lettings, but everything in the property market has a knock-on effect for us.

"We are literally swamped with enquiries, I actually dread advertising a property because it is a tidal wave when we put one out.

"And it’s heartbreaking - everyone gives you a story about why they need to rent a place, but there isn’t anything."

Second-time buyers are able to purchase homes much easier because of Stamp Duty while others struggle to get their foot on the property ladder Credit: ITV West Country

Locals are less likely to afford a home in the area they have grown up in and resort to long-term renting instead – which frees up homes for second-time buyers to purchase.

Deborah said: "All those people who are starting out in life and haven’t got enough of a deposit, we watch them start to do well with their jobs and careers - but they’re locked in, where they would normally leave the rental market.

"There needs to be good housing for locals which is capped. So they can stay in their local communities where they grew up."

She said the core of the problem lies in the Stamp Duty holiday which the government brought in.

She said: "Don't get me wrong, I'm not criticising the second-home buyers.

"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."

Read more: