Campaigners will march to Aberaeron this weekend to draw attention to the ‘housing crisis’ they say is contributing to an ‘exodus of young people’ from Ceredigion.
According to an assessment of the housing market by Ceredigion Council, house prices in the county are the least affordable in Wales. Over the last year, 25% of house sales in Ceredigion were of second homes.
In Ynys Môn, Gwynedd, Ceredigion and Carmarthenshire over the last decade, 117,000 young people between 15 and 29 have left, which is over 55% of all the out-migration for every age group.
This Saturday, members of Cymdeithas yr Iaith will walk the 7 miles from Llanrhystud to a rally in Aberaeron to protest about these problems in the housing market.
One of those going on the walk will be Jeff Smith, chair of the local branch of Cymdeithas yr Iaith.
“There has to be action. It’s just not right that so many people are buying second homes here – houses that sit empty most of the year – yet there are people that can’t afford a single place to live,” he said.
“Many of these people who cannot afford their own place are key workers – the shelf stackers, the postal workers, the care staff – on whom we’ve all depended so much during the pandemic. The housing system is just totally unfair.”
Cymdeithas yr Iaith estimate that Wales is losing around 5,200 Welsh speakers a year through out-migration from the country.
Mirian James, an Aberystwyth student who comes from Pembrokeshire, will be speaking at the rally in Aberaeron.
“We have a housing market in Ceredigion and nationally which is destroying our communities and the Welsh language,” she said.
“It’s about time the government passed a Property Act that would introduce controls on rental and house prices so that people on local wages can afford to live here. Urgent action is needed: on the path we are on, more and more villages will be emptied and without life because such a high percentage are second homes.”
The rally will be held at 2pm on Saturday 21st November outside the council offices in Aberaeron.
The march follows similar action in Gwynedd to the north.
In September nearly 30 town councillors, language campaigners and local people will march tomorrow from Nefyn to Caernarfon to demand that the Welsh Government acts to solve what they say is a “second home crisis”.
Campaigners who took part in the 20-mile hike said the rise in the number of second homes in rural Wales threatens the Welsh language, particularly on the Llŷn peninsula.
They called on the Welsh Government to pass a new Property Act on devolving the Land Transaction Tax to local authorities.