Home building plan on Anglesey as pandemic highlights housing crisis
Gareth Williams, local democracy reporter
A council is planning to ramp up its housing plans in a bid to tackle the growing property crisis currently gripping parts of Wales.
Anglesey Council has already committed to boost its own housing stock by over 1,000 properties between now and 2050.
The authority is one of 11 Welsh councils who still own and rent out properties.
But a report presented to councillors on Monday said that more homes were needed to cope with growing demand as some locals face being priced out of the property market.
The average price of a home on Anglesey was listed as £180,505 in January 2020 – a 3% rise on the previous year.
And figures published in September 2020 showed that some villages on the island have seen a 21.3% increase on property prices since lockdown eased, according to the report.
It said: “The issue of affordability remains a concern for many communities as the shortage of suitable homes which are affordable to local people has been highlighted during the coronavirus pandemic with houses selling on the open market at higher price and a quicker pace across the island.
“This is coupled by the requirement for a 15% deposit as lenders change their approach due to concerns for house prices and the income people are getting during the pandemic.
“As previously seen during periods of recession the nervousness of lenders takes time to recede.”
Cllr Alun Mummery, the council’s housing portfolio holder, said the report “highlighted the ambition of the department” in improving the situation across the island.
Between 2015 and 2020, Anglesey Council built 43 and acquired 65 council houses.
Another 321 were provided by partner social housing landlords.
By the end of the current financial year, the authority expects that work will have started on at least 38 new council houses across the island with another 40 earmarked to be built during 2021/22.
The report also highlighted the importance of bringing empty homes back into use, with 666 properties on the island having lain empty for six months or more as of April 1, 2020.
Around 75 empty properties are expected to have been brought back into use by the end of the current financial year and at least another 50 over the subsequent 12 months.
Cllr Richard Dew concluded: “It’s important that we protect our rural communities, there are many young people who have been brought up in villages and may not want to move housing estates in the towns.
“It’s vital, if possible, to build homes in these villages and we have seen good partnership working with Cynefin in Bryn Du for example.”
During the meeting, Anglesey Council’s Executive approved an interim 12-month housing strategy. It’s five-year housing strategy (2022-27) is due to be finalised at a later date.