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Gwynedd records fall in the number of second homes as clampdown starts to bite

09 Jul 2022 4 minute read
Abersoch. Photo by bombhead is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0.

Dale Spridgeon, local democracy reporter

Gwynedd has Wales’ highest number of chargeable second homes although the numbers are falling amid the council tax premium hike and holiday property status changes.

According to Welsh Government data, Gwynedd had 4720 chargeable second properties for the period 2022/3  – a slight fall from the previous year’s figure of 5098.

It also had 1349 long term empty second properties, a small drop from last year’s figure of 1558.

It means possibly around 6,000 properties are unavailable as homes for local people.

The drop has been attributed to the punitive council tax premium of 100 percent being added to council tax bills on second homes.

Gwynedd currently charges a 100% premium on 3,746 homes, as do Swansea, 1284 and Pembrokeshire, 3794.

Anglesey,  Denbighshire, and Flintshire currently charge 50%, whilst Conwy only charges 25% premium.

The fall is also being attributed  the number of holiday home owners getting their properties re-evaluated as ‘second homes’ – to ‘self-catering holiday units.’

Gwynedd was only second in the country to Pembrokeshire, and figures showed it has 3794  chargeable second homes and 1322 long term empty ones.

The council had recently passed a motion calling on the Welsh Government to do something to tackle the second homes housing crisis – blighting its area.

Crisis

At  a meeting in June, Councillor Rhys Tudur had proposed  “Given the crisis caused by the lack of control over second homes, I propose that the Full Council calls on the Welsh Government to take urgent action.”

He asked for planning legislation and policy for second homes and short-term holiday lets, Welsh language communities housing plan, second homes, local variation to land transaction tax rates.

Earlier this week, the First Minister Mark Drakeford and leader of Plaid Cymru Adam Price announced a new programme of immediate action, to tackle the issue, starting from Monday (July 4.)

In a Co-operation Agreement between the Welsh Government and Plaid Cymru changes include planning regulations, a statutory licensing scheme and proposals for a land transaction tax.

A Gwynedd Council spokesperson said: “The figures quoted come from the Council Tax Dwelling Estimate which Gwynedd Council – along with all other Welsh local authorities – submitted to Welsh Government in November 2021.

The figures are the actual number of second homes in Gwynedd as of October 2021, adjusted by the foretasted number of second homes for the period up to March 2023, taking expected trends into consideration.

Fall

“The projected slight fall in the number of second homes in Gwynedd is due to two factors: the 100% Second Home Council Tax Premium introduced in Gwynedd in 2021 acting as a disincentive to owning or buying a second home in the area whilst at the same time, there was an expected acceleration in the number of second home owners who would be applying to the Valuation Office Agency to change the status of their property from a second home to a self-catering holiday unit.”

“As a Council we are working closely with the Welsh Government to develop new measures to control the number of holiday homes in the area, to prevent second home owners from changing the status of their property to avoid paying the Council Tax Premium and to increase the number of houses available to local people at an affordable price.”

The figures also showed,  in 2022/23 Anglesey had 2,208 chargeable second homes, slightly up on  last year’s figure, of 2139.

It also had 340 long term chargeable empty homes, down on last year’s figure of 433.

Conwy had  1155, chargeable second homes but only 1181, last year, whilst  Denbighshire had 397 and 393 previously.  Flintshire has 273,  last year 280.

Conwy was 686,  last year 738, Denbighshire was 789, last year 942  and Flintshire had 865,  last year 1004.

Other  authorities in Wales which charged a 100 percent second homes premium included, Pembrokeshire at 3749 and Swansea at 1284.

Welsh language campaigners Cymdeithas Yr Iaith Cymraeg have also campaigned for action, saying second homes “were only part of the housing problem.”

It also calling for a Property Act to ensure that local people have the” right to a home and are prioritised.”

Jeff Smith, chair of Cymdeithas’ sustainable communities group, said “There is public support for such measures.

“We have held well-supported rallies at a local and national level over the last year and will hold the next rally at the forthcoming Eisteddfod in Tregaron in August.”


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Llŷn expat
Llŷn expat
4 months ago

“It means possibly around 6,000 properties are unavailable as homes for local people.”

Think how many more homes are unavailable because Cyngor Gwynedd (in common with local authorities all over the country) isn’t allowing them to be built anywhere, or requiring (as the story from Llanberis earlier in the week showed) people to grovel before committees to build a home on their own land for their own family.

Cameron Wixcey
Cameron Wixcey
4 months ago

Are house prices still rising as fast as before?
Are there more houses on the market for locals to buy?
Has the council used the extra money to provide better services?
Is the local economy in a better shape because of this policy?
When will we get these answers?

It boggles my mind why Wales hasn’t adopted Liverpool’s £1 housing scheme. We have plenty of suitable properties. It would work all over Wales.

Richard
Richard
4 months ago

Just returned today from a weeks B&B in Kernow…. Our 40th year.
Great Weather ☀️☀️🏄‍♂️🚌and Grest beaches of course….and certainly far more visual use of Cornish public life…buses🚍, car parks, council vans plus street signs…etc. They also put us to
shame on showing the flag ! Howrver the curse of second homes, deserted villages and hollowed out communities is on a scale we can only imagine. Young people and locals are restricted to council accomidation, or old mining and x industrial areas etc ..
Its a hot topic here and we should work together – Kernow bys vyken

Last edited 4 months ago by Richard
NOT Grayham Jones
NOT Grayham Jones
4 months ago

Welsh language campaigners Cymdeithas Yr Iaith Cymraeg have also campaigned for action, saying second homes “were only part of the housing problem.” They are correct when they say this- Getting rid of second homes etc will only help slightly- the biggest problem in respect of a lack of houses for me is the fact more and more couples do not stay together so take up 2 houses when in the past this did not happen and also the fact people are now living longer so whereas in the past a house became available when a couple died in their 70’s… Read more »

Llŷn expat
Llŷn expat
4 months ago

Something CAN be done about those issues. More housing can be built, to accommodate the increased demand that you describe.

Dandeman
Dandeman
4 months ago

Has anyone done any research into how many first time buyers in Gwynedd have saved a decent deposit, are both in regular reasonably paid jobs, are in a position to obtain a mortgage and can’t find an affordable property?
I am not talking about those that are not working or are in low paid work and could not buy a house regardless of how cheap they are.

SundanceKid
SundanceKid
4 months ago
Reply to  Dandeman

Well, as someone who was house-hunting three years ago, many terraces in places such as Blaenau Ffestiniog and Porthmadog were on the market for around £85,000. The same was true of similar properties in many other areas of Gwynedd and Anglesey (the more “tourist driven” areas such as Abersoch and Aberdyfi excepted though). Most people I know could afford a 10% deposit for a property in the region of £80,000 – £90,000. Fast forward to 2021/22, similar properties command an asking price from anywhere between £120,000 – £140,000. They may eventually be sold for more than that. So, please don’t… Read more »

Last edited 4 months ago by SundanceKid
Gazza
Gazza
4 months ago

It has always been difficult to get on the housing market, what we have here is the combination policy of a typical Marxist hypocrite and Welsh Nationalist (two home owner) bigot,

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