The ‘double whammy’ of Covid-19 and Brexit is accelerating the demand for second homes in west Wales and making it increasingly difficult for local people to buy their first home, Carmarthenshire County Council heard today.
picture: Cllr Cefin Campbell
The council agreed to call on Welsh Government to pass legislation which would require planning permission to change a property from a primary dwelling to a second home; to introduce a licensing scheme for managing the conversion of a residential property into a commercial unit; and to close the loophole that allows second home owners to register as businesses in order to opt out of paying domestic rates and Council Tax Premiums.
Cllr Cefin Campbell, who asked for government intervention in a Notice of Motion said: “The pandemic has resulted in many people fleeing from urban areas to rural Wales. At the same time, post-Brexit, more people are looking for holiday properties in Wales rather than Spain or France. In recent months we've seen an increase in the number of properties bought as holiday homes or holiday lets, resulting in a rapid rise in house prices.
“Local people, especially young people, are finding it increasingly difficult if not impossible to buy their own home as they find themselves priced out of the housing market. As a result they often have to leave their local communities to find affordable homes. This obviously has a detrimental effect on the demography of the area, social cohesion and the Welsh language. By adopting our suggested course of action, the Welsh Government would help ensure a more equitable housing market and provide opportunities for our young people to get on to the property ladder and to live locally," said Cllr Campbell.