‘I’m thinking of selling up’: Second home owner complains about tax hike
A second home owner has complained about a tax hike, saying she’s “thinking of selling up and buying abroad instead”.
Jane Robinson, who is from the West Midlands, and owns a property in Tywyn has criticised Gwynedd Council’s decision to increase the rates on second homes.
The council increased the levy on second homes and empty properties from 50% to a 100% in an effort to tackle a housing crisis in which locals are struggling to get on the property ladder.
Figures from the Welsh Revenue Authority have shown that 44% homes sold in Dwyfor Meirionnydd in the past year were to buyers not planning to use it as their main residence.
Robinson told the Cambrian News: “I’ve managed to go down during the summer holidays. I personally don’t think it’s going to be good for Tywyn in the long term as more second homeowners are forced to sell up because of the hike.
“Also with the Covid-19 impact already showing on the town with many small businesses and B&Bs been put out of business it’s not looking bright.”
She added: “Personally I’m re-evaluating my finances and thinking of selling up and buying abroad instead. I don’t feel the same about Tywyn like I used too, it was like I was going home now it’s just not the same. It’s very sad.”
Gwynedd councillor for Tywyn Mike Stevens said: “I would totally disagree with the lady’s comment of ‘many small businesses and B&Bs been put out of business,’ that is certainly not the case in Tywyn.
“In the past year we have had two new business open in the high street Tywyn Foods which sells fruit and vegetables, deli products and most importantly loose grains, nuts, cereals etc for people to fill their own containers.
“We’ve also had a brand new fish and chip shop YMOR open in a shop that had been empty for 10 years so it’s taken a big investment to convert it. Both businesses have been started and run by local born and bred Tywyn lads.
“Second homes have been a massive problem in Gwynedd for years and it has really hit Tywyn this year.
‘Not to be confused’
He added: “Not to be confused with holiday home letting businesses some of which have visitors almost all year round, many contributing a lot to the economy.
“Too many second homes are only occupied for a few weeks or, to look at it another way, too many second homes are empty for 9-10 months of the year contributing nothing to the local economy and depriving local people of somewhere to live.
“Tywyn is still a beautiful place but we need to prioritise for local people to be able to live and work in the town they were born and bred.”
A Gwynedd Council spokesperson said: “After a careful discussion and deliberation, and having considered and balanced all relevant factors including the results of a public consultation exercise and implications of the decision, Gwynedd councillors decided at a full council meeting on 4 March to increase the council tax premium on second homes and long term empty properties from 50 per cent to 100 per cent for the 2021/22 financial year.”