Wales bore brunt of skyrocketing house prices in 2021, new figures reveal
Wales bore the brunt of skyrocketing house prices in 2021, new figures by Halifax, one of the UK’s biggest mortgage lenders, have revealed.
Prices in Wales shot up by 14.5 per cent compared with 2020 to an average of £205,579, by far the biggest rise of any nation or region within the UK.
In comparison, London had the weakest annual price growth of all regions at 1.2 per cent. Across the UK, house prices rose by 9.8 per cent.
The high house prices have led to fears that many people will be priced out of communities they grew up in, particularly in rural areas where wage growth has become disconnected from house prices.
Russell Galley, managing director of Halifax, said that high house prices were driven by the pandemic.
“The lack of spending opportunities afforded to people while restrictions were in place helped to boost household cash reserves,” he said.
“This factor, alongside the stamp duty holiday and the race for space, will have encouraged buyers to bring forward home purchases they’d maybe planned for this year.”
He added that house price growth was expected to slow this year as the rising cost of living eats into Britons’ disposable income, but that prices would still rise overall.
“The prospect that interest rates may rise this year to tackle rising inflation and increasing pressure on household budgets suggest house price growth will slow considerably,” he said.
“Our expectation is that house prices will maintain their current strong levels, but that growth relative to the last two years will be at a slower pace.”
The news comes as Cymdeithas yr Iaith plan a rally will take place in Aberystwyth in February to protest the housing crisis.
The Nid yw Cymru ar Werth (Wales is not for Sale) rally will be held on the 60th anniversary of the broadcasting of the ‘Tynged yr Iaith’ (Fate of the Language) lecture by academic and political activist Saunders Lewis.
The rally will start on the Trefechan bridge in the town, the site of Cymdeithas’ first ever protest in 1963, and end at the offices of the Welsh Government.
Speakers will include Mabli Siriol the current chair of Cymdeithas yr Iaith and singer, Bryn Fôn.
Cymdeithas yr Iaith has recently welcomed the measures to tackle holiday homes in the agreement between Labour and Plaid Cymru.
However, it stresses that the problem is wider than holiday homes and that a Property Act that would provide a home for everyone is needed.
Measures in the agreement between both political parties include a pilot scheme to test measures to reduce the number of second homes in Dwyfor and a consultation on submitting a planning application to change the use class of a house from a holiday home.
One of the orgainsers of the rally, Osian Jones, said: “It has been clear that recent pressure by the people of Wales for justice in the housing market and for measures to secure the right to live locally has had a significant impact on the government.
“It has recently announced steps to introduce new planning rules and a possible new tax to prevent excessive loss of our housing stock to the second homes and AirBnB market.
“At the start of a year of celebrating the 60th anniversary of Cymdeithas yr Iaith, we have the opportunity to remind ourselves that campaigning is reaping rewards today as much as ever so we need to keep pressuring.
“We will continue to press to ensure that the government does not compromise, but will prioritise communities over capitalism. And we’ll continue to press for a commitment to pass a Property Act that considers housing as social assets to provide homes, not as commercial, profit making assets. This would ensure justice and continuity for our communities at last.
“Today marks 60 days before the 60th anniversary rally. We will be counting down the days to the rally by announcing more details every day.”