Battling Second Home Culture and Zoom-Town Phenomena

Course Details

Destination communities around the country have always been challenged to preserve and develop housing for their local workforces. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated these challenges as remote work and upward mobility increase competition for housing between local and newly mobile white-collar workers. Added to this are steady increases in second-home purchases and short-term rentals.

Substantial low-wage jobs and nonwhite populations commonly characterize resort communities. The growing popularity of second homes and influx of new residents who work remotely may result in displacement of local workers.

In North Lake Tahoe, only 18,000 housing units are restricted as affordable, while nearly 88 percent are second homes. Planners there are applying innovative housing policies that could help other destination communities. Over the past few years, Placer County has experimented with new policies, zoning regulations, funding mechanisms, and community partnerships to increase the availability of housing for local workers.

Efforts include redefining what is affordable for local workers, creating a down-payment assistance program in exchange for local-worker deed restrictions, amending short-term rental and housing codes and policies, developing affordable and local workforce housing, collaborating with community partners to promote regional education about housing needs, implementing new policies, and securing land for housing.

Learning Outcomes

  • Understand the difference in community impacts between long-term housing, second homes, and short-term rentals and how these differences complicate the challenges destination communities face in preserving and providing local worker housing in the wake of the COVID pandemic.
  • Explore the policy tools available in destination communities to regulate second homes and short-term rentals and preserve and expand local worker housing at varying affordability levels.
  • Identify strategies to secure funds to develop workforce housing and build community partnerships.

The NPC Peer Reviewers assigned this presentation a learning level of Intermediate. For more on learning level descriptions visit our General Information Page.