Overseas ownership of homes in Wales more than doubles in a decade
The number of homes in Wales owned by overseas buyers has more than doubled in the last decade, according to new statistics.
Analysis by Anna Powell-Smith of the Centre for Public Data, a non-profit organisation, has shown a big increase in the presence of overseas buyers in the UK.
Between January 2010 and August 2021 the number of foreign buyers almost tripled in Gwynedd, from 114 to 311, and Pembrokeshire, from 136 to 361. In Cardiff, the number almost doubled from 419 to 834.
Across Wales, the number rose from 247% from 2,145 to 5,305.
Average house price in Wales rose 12.9 per cent in the last year to an average of £198,880.
Anna Powell-Smith of the Centre for Public Data said in her report that the figures suggested that governments’ focus on meeting demand from within the UK may be hiding some of the factors behind the increases in prices.
The Centre for Public Data also showed that the number of homes in England owned by foreign buyers had tripled, which could also have the knock-on effect of pushing up prices in Wales as people sought cheaper property elsewhere.
A large number of buyers – almost 50,000 in Wales and England – were tied to crown dependencies and tax havens, including Jersey, Guernsey, the Isle of Man and the British Virgin Islands.
But Hong Kong was the single largest source of property buyers, with 23,524 homes in England and Wales owned by residents of the city, an increase from 2,170 homes in 2010.
UK house prices as a whole have risen from an average of £167,500 at the start of 2010 to £264,000 in August of this year.
“This topic is a prime example of how UK housing policy is often poorly supported by published official data. In particular, evidence on new factors affecting demand in the UK property market – from buy-to-let to overseas investment – is hard to come by,” the report by Anna Powell-Smith says.
“This may have influenced the policy focus on supply, whereby official housing policy is primarily focussed on building more homes rather than tax or policy measures based on demand.”
The report added: “We recommend that the Government should proceed urgently with plans to implement a public register of the beneficial owners of property in England & Wales that is owned by overseas companies. This will give us more insight into the beneficial (real) owners of land held via companies based in secrecy jurisdictions.”
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