Government advisers say include second homes in new housing numbers or risk a housing shortfall

Regional planners must take account of demand for second homes or risk a future shortage of housing, the government’s housing advisers have said.

The National Housing and Planning Advice Unit (NHPAU) said regional planning bodies did not consider demand for second homes when working out how many homes should be built in their area.

A new report from the unit said there is limited evidence to support widespread assumptions that the purchase of second homes pushes up house prices.

NHPAU board member Professor Glen Bramley said: “The topic of second homes is one of considerable debate and controversy. But while this is an area that generates a great deal of heat, robust evidence about the social, economic and environmental consequences of second homes is actually limited.”

But Bramley added the failure to meet the demand for second homes could adversely affect first buyers. “A failure to plan for second homes actually ends up biting on first-time buyers and those at the margins of home ownership in certain areas because of the impact of further undersupply in the market,” he said.

The report says that as earnings increase and working patterns change, the demand for second homes will continue to grow. Some analysts suggest the number of second homes in the UK could exceed 70,000 by 2015.