We often hear that mantra from free-traders and staunch capitalists, but sometimes the situation isn’t that simple. Take this example in the exquisitely-beautiful town of St. Ives, in Cornwall, Britishland:
Landlords and businesses have been buying up properties in the area and converting them into summer homes, meaning there is nowhere left for locals to rent.
Jasmin cannot find a new place to rent and her tenancy is due to end on May 10. She has exhausted letting agents and spare room sites, and fears in three weeks she will be sleeping rough.
And from the local council:
“The boom in house prices and the demand for holiday accommodation is causing a significant reduction in the availability of homes to rent. It matched sudden escalation in rental costs.
“Private landlords have been moving away from long-term letting and instead moving towards the short-term holiday market.”
Read the whole thing.
I know that many towns in rural counties Over Here have had the same problems — transplanted Californians, ’nuff said — to where locals with jobs in those towns have to find a place to live in further-off towns, sometimes as much as an hour’s drive (or more) away.
Jackson Hole in Wyoming, when I first drove through there back in 1987, was a one-horse town that had nothing to recommend it other than proximity to Yellowstone and a couple of ski runs; now, it’s the place to find Hollywood types and other California scum in their vacation homes, with all the foul side-effects: expensive housing, expensive eateries, empty streets out of season, and so on.
I don’t have any solutions — at least, not free-market solutions — so maybe it’s up to the local governments to step in; although getting government involved usually if not always seems just to exacerbate the problem.
I welcome discussion on the topic, in Comments.