The 15% increase in property prices in Wales this year is fuelled by the demand for a primary or second home by people fleeing the cities in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, say Plaid Cymru councillors in south-west Wales. They’re calling on the Welsh Government to take urgent action to regulate the second home market.
The latest statistics show that the property percentage price rise in Wales is five times that of Scotland, twice the increase in the South West of England and greater than any other English region.
“Although the cut in stamp duty has created an UK-wide surge in house sales and prices, the 15.6% increase in Wales is phenomenal,” said Carmarthenshire County Councillor Alun Lenny. “The clear evidence that people fleeing the cities to escape the pandemic, coupled with the demand for second homes, are major contributory factors. This trend is being enabled by the income imbalance between wealthy parts of the UK and West Wales, which is one of the most deprived areas in Europe. Local families already struggling to get on the property ladder will see their dreams smashed by this level of property price increase.”
County Councillor Carys Jones, who represents the coastal village of Llansteffan in Carmarthenshire, said that the demand for second homes is already pushing house prices way beyond what local people can afford. “A modest three-bedroom end of terrace house in Llansteffan is currently for sale at £375,000. Getting a mortgage on that property would mean a minimum deposit of £37,500 and a monthly repayment of £1,430. That’s way out of reach of most young local families. It’s heart-breaking to see young people having to move away because they can’t afford to buy a home in the village where they were born. What’s happened in Pen Llŷn is now happening here.”
“The proliferation of second homes in seaside towns and villages has been driving up property prices and driving away our young people for some time,” said Pembrokeshire County Councillor Mike Williams of Tenby. “I’m horrified by this latest news about the huge property price increase in Wales. Unless action is taken to regulate the second home market, out coastal communities will become a playground for people who are rich enough to own more than one home. Yet the Labour Welsh Government sit idly by and allow this to happen. What use is the Future Generations Act if young people have no chance of having a future in their communities? ”
The Plaid councillors warn that the situation is causing a great deal of resentment amongst local people in coastal towns and villages. They’re calling on the Welsh Government, as a matter of urgency, to implement a new classification of property to control second home usage and to close the loophole which allows second home owners to opt out of paying Council Tax.
Alun Lenny 07817 519039
Carys Jones 07970 902996
Mike Williams 01834 844598