Wales’ housing crisis: Prices balloon at fastest rate in 10 years, outstripping rest of the UK
House price growth has hit a 10 year high in Wales, and is the highest across the UK, amid increasing concern that house prices are rising beyond the reach of people living in communities.
House prices in Wales grew 7.1% in the year between May 2020 and May 2021, according to Zoopla’s House Price Index Report. That compares with only 2.2% in London, which usually has the most overheated property market, and an average of 4.7% across the UK.
Zoopla said that a ‘search for space’ among homebuyers, as well as increased numbers of buyers “making lifestyle changes”, was driving the growth. A rise in home working, holidaying in the UK and people fleeing cities during the pandemic is thought to be responsible.
Gráinne Gilmore, Head of Research at Zoopla, said that the stamp duty holiday – extended by the Welsh Government until the end of June – had also played a part.
“The stamp duty holiday boosted demand in the housing market,” she said. “However, buyer demand remains elevated despite the initial holiday ending – signalling that the once-in-a-generation ‘reassessment of home’ has further to run this year.
“The total stock of homes for sale remains below historical norms, and this will underpin pricing amid higher demand. At the same time, lower stock availability may also constrain potential activity, especially for buyers looking for family houses.
“Even so, we forecast that this year will be one of the busiest for the housing market since the global financial crisis.”
‘Lot of activity’
The huge house price growth in Wales comes at a time when the Welsh Government has come under increasing pressure to act to ensure that people can afford prices in their own communities.
Language campaigners have been calling of the Welsh Government to act to solve the housing crisis in Wales which means that people are often not able to buy homes in their own communities.
Cymdeithas yr Iaith intend to hold a ‘Wales is Not for Sale’ rally held at Tryweryn Dam, on Saturday 10th July where they will be challenging the next Welsh Government to introduce a Property Act as a priority.
Chair of Cymdeithas yr Iaith’s Communities Group, Elin Hywel, said last month that “without such national intervention on the part of the people of Wales, there is no way we can tackle this crisis.”
Mark Drakeford said earlier this month that his government will present “practical proposals” to tackle the second homes crisis in Wales before the end of the month.
“Progress is definitely being made inside the Welsh Government to come forward with a package of proposals,” he told Sunday Supplement at the beginning on June.
“I expect the Cabinet to have a paper before the end of this month drawing together all those ideas and giving us some practical proposals to consider.
“Some listeners will know that an important report on this whole issue was published in March by Dr. Simon Brooks in Swansea University.
“We hope to respond to that report this month as well, and make a series of recommendations aimed at not just the Welsh Government but local authorities as well.
“So there’s a lot of activity going on in this area. What I said in my first speech in the Senedd was nobody has a monopoly of ideas or wisdom on this topic, and when we come forward with our proposals we’ll want to discuss them with others.
“And see if there are any other ideas that we could add to that repertoire, to strengthen the protections that are available in those local communities where, if we’re not careful, people who were born, brought up, and want to make their futures in those parts of Wales, simply find that that’s not possible for them.”