Second home buying in Europe’s peripheral regions

Publications / 28.9.17
Second home buying in Europe’s peripheral regions

The development of second homes, such as vacation homes used for summer or weekend getaways, is a phenomenon that characterizes the growth of European societies. There are many reasons for the existence of second homes and they have evolved over time. The dominance of the market economy, the competition that goes with it, and the increasing mobility of individuals has re-organised where and how we live.

The has resulted in the segregation of spaces. On the one hand, there are human concentrations in large cities where life and work constraints that are sometimes hard to bear, and on the other, there are rural, mountainous or coastal areas that are often left out of economic dynamism, but are closer to the nature and idealised by urban dwellers. Often located on the outskirts of the European Union’s developed areas, these territories have adapted to welcome temporary incomers. However, the phenomenon is far from being properly managed, but above all, it is not without its problems in the host territories.

Our book demonstrates how second homes, when are built in large concentrations, tend to destabilise the local economy, environment and culture. They foster financial speculation, seasonal economies, environmental degradation, rising land/property prices, shortage in quality housing and loss of cultural identity in Europe’s underdeveloped, but picturesque and culturally-rich regions.

In some places, such as in Cornwall, Wales, Brittany, Corsica, Mallorca, and the Adriatic, the ratio of second homes is as high as 60% to 80% of the housing capacity. These areas have seen their landscapes transform rapidly, their natural environments destroyed, their productive economy replaced by a short-term tourist economy, and their housings prices sky-rocket, while empty houses with closed blinds continue to spread.

The book is therefore also an invitation to redesign our life in a very different way and to reconsider the link to our environment from a more endogenous and responsible point of view.