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The displacement myth: second home tourism in the Stockholm archipelago
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social and Economic Geography.
2007 (English)In: Tourism Geographies, ISSN 1461-6688, E-ISSN 1470-1340, Vol. 9, no 3, 296-317 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Second homes are important for many households in Sweden. However, second homes are not uncontroversial and sometimes cause conflicts between the second home owners and locals. In attractive destinations, second homes are frequently blamed for creating price inflation, increased property values and higher property tax for all dwellings, including permanent homes. It is argued that this development is causing a displacement of permanent residents from these areas. However, others argue that the current depopulation trend in attractive second home destinations is caused by a restructuring of the rural labour market. This study departs from this societal and scientific conflict and has its aim in testing the displacement theory. This is done through an empirical case study dealing with essential issues regarding the development of second homes, permanent homes and changes in property values. The case area is the most popular second home destination in Sweden: the archipelago of Stockholm. Results show that increased assessed property values are caused primarily by increasing numbers of permanent homes, and the area is being repopulated rather than depopulated. The study concludes that no evidence of displacement caused by second home demand can be traced on a regional geographical level.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
London: Taylor & Francis , 2007. Vol. 9, no 3, 296-317 p.
Keyword [en]
Second homes, displacement, Stockholm archipelago, rural tourism, property values
National Category
Human Geography
Research subject
Social and Economic Geography
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-3167DOI: 10.1080/14616680701422848OAI: diva2:141656
Available from: 2008-05-07 Created: 2008-05-07 Last updated: 2011-06-22Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Second home tourism: The root to displacement in Sweden?
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Second home tourism: The root to displacement in Sweden?
2008 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

During certain seasons, rural and peripheral locations with significant numbers of second homes become the destination for major traffic and commodity flows. The outcome of this seasonal flow can be somewhat problematic and cause conflicts. One of the most controversial issues of conflict is whether the demand for second homes has a displacement effect on permanent residents. It has been argued that, especially in attractive destinations, the demand for second homes has caused an involuntary out-migration of permanent residents. More affluent second home buyers can outbid the competition from permanent residents. Hence, permanent residents must buy dwellings elsewhere, or must leave due to rising living costs through increased property taxes in the area. This thesis aims to study the issue of second home induced displacement in attractive second home locations in Sweden. This is justified because it is unknown to what extent second homes have contributed to the problems in these areas.

The thesis consists of four empirical studies presented in four separate papers. The studies derive from two different data sources. The first three papers are based on official register data, whereas the fourth paper is based on data collected from a questionnaire survey. The first paper is aimed at finding possible locations of second home induced displacement in Sweden. Results show that areas with a positive population development, proximity to the sea and with long traditions of tourism seem to attract second home owners. The Stockholm archipelago has been deemed to be the most attractive second home region in Sweden and a place that may possibly harbour second home induced displacement. The second paper tests the displacement theory in a regional context in the Stockholm archipelago. Results show that the number of second homes has decreased in favour of permanent homes. Further, the permanent homes’ share of the total property values in the area is increasing. Hence, permanent homes have strengthened their position, implying that dwellings used for permanent purposes have a higher impact on price inflation for dwellings than second homes do. The Stockholm archipelago is in a state of repopulation rather than second home induced displacement. Paper three examines in- and out-migration and dwelling development in three case study islands in the Stockholm archipelago. Results show that these islands have the preconditions for displacement. However, results also show that individuals leave the islands for reasons associated with major events in life such as studies and job opportunities, not displacement. The final paper deals with second home related out-migration from the island of Sandö, one of the single most attractive destinations in Sweden. Results show that the out-migrants left the island on a voluntary basis and did not perceive themselves as being displaced. They state that their life improved after they left Sandö and they are, in general, not willing to return. The paper concludes that people move from the rural periphery to urban areas in order to find a better future and this move is not associated with a forced displacement.

In conclusion, this thesis has shown that second home tourism is not a widespread problem or the main cause of depopulation in attractive second home destinations in Sweden. As for many other countries throughout the world, the preconditions for a displacement situation are present in many locations. However, other causes such as job opportunities and educational possibilities are more important in explaining the negative population development. Second home owners are described as an external threat to the traditional way of life and serve as convenient scapegoats, compared to less tangible and underlying causes, which are far more difficult to address.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Kulturgeografi, 2008. 182 p.
GERUM, ISSN 1402-5205 ; ISSN 1402-5205
second homes, displacement, tourism, mobility, Stockholm archipelago, Sweden.
National Category
Economic Geography
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-1640 (URN)1402-5205 (ISBN)
Public defence
2008-05-29, S 213, Samhällsvetarhuset, Umeå, 13:15 (English)
Available from: 2008-05-07 Created: 2008-05-07 Last updated: 2010-01-21Bibliographically approved

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