The Taxation of the Second Home Ownership
Rivista Internazionale di Scienze Economiche e Commerciali, Vol. 24, No. 9, 1977
Posted: 9 May 2006
The paper addresses some of the most relevant issues associated with the debate on the boom of second home ownership. Over the past two decades an increasing number of dwellings in Italy have been bought for family use (recreation and leisure purposes) by persons who are resident elsewhere, mainly in big cities. The areas affected by this trend present some characteristics in common: (a) they are generally situated away from high density populated urban areas and from heavy polluted industrial districts; (b) they are located near the sea, near lakes or in upland regions; (c) their economy is mainly based on agriculture and/or tourism.
This phenomenon, usually defined as "the run on second home ownership", was initially welcomed as a source of new employment and increased income for people living in some less developed areas of the country. Then, serious objections started to be raised because secondary properties have were held responsible for creating adverse effects. In particular second homes have been accused: to change landscape, to cause environment (both ecologic and social) deterioration, to channel capital towards unproductive investments, to hamper the development of hotel industry, to reduce farming land and to push up real estate prices in rural areas. As a consequence, chances of local young people to purchase a residence and starting new working activities would be reduced. Special taxation on second home owners has been, therefore, suggested as an effective measure to restrain the spread of this trend.
The paper, after focusing on the concept of second home, finds a workable definition of the term and explores motives behind the household decision to invest savings by purchasing a house to be used as second home. Then it reviews opinions for and against second homes and assesses costs and benefits involved, both at local and national level. The phenomenon is analyzed in the framework of economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development. Eventually proposals on methods of taxation of these properties and their effectiveness are discussed.
Keywords: Second home, tourism, environment, real estate taxation.
JEL Classification: H2, R21
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation