Welsh Government proposals to tackle the growing second-homes crisis in parts of Wales will move forward this month, Mark Drakeford said today.

Areas of north- and west Wales are particularly affected by the crisis, caused by a surge in demand for properties that are then being used as holiday homes or rental accommodation.

As a result, local people, especially young first-time buyers, are finding it increasingly difficult to find a home in their own communities.

Yesterday, The National reported on the pressures the crisis was placing on some communities. One campaigner from Gwynedd spoke of the "heartbreaking" struggle to afford a home despite working several jobs.

"No matter what I’m saving, I’m always chasing because I have to live but the house prices are just going up more and more and that’s just to get a deposit," he said.

You can read The National's full report on the second homes crisis here.

The first minister recently told the Senedd the government would move to address the problem. Today he told BBC Radio Wales' Sunday Supplement he expected his cabinet "to have a paper before the end of this month drawing together all those ideas [and] giving us some practical proposals to consider".

He also repeated the government's willingness to work with other parties "to strengthen the protections that are available in those local communities where if we’re not careful people who we born, brought up and want to make their futures in those parts of Wales, simply find that that’s not possible for them".


Drakeford also said the government would this month respond to research put forward by Swansea University's Dr Simon Brooks, who looked at the impacts of second homes, taxation and planning policies on the sustainability of Wales' communities.

Samuel Kurtz, the Welsh Conservative Senedd member for Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire, told Radio Wales the rise in second homes was "a big problem" but "not a party political problem".

He said he was himself still renting because he had "not been able to get onto the property ladder" because, he alleged, "the number of homes being built for first-time buyers has been so little over the last couple of years".

Kurtz, who is also a Pembrokeshire county councillor, said the first minister's words were "really encouraging" but he warned the Welsh Government that a "one size fits all" approach would not work for every affected community in Wales.

"There isn’t one specific answer for this question, which shows that political engagement across the spectrum is really needed on this topic," he added.

Kurtz also said a "not in my back garden" attitude would be "disappointing" if they prevented more homes being built, and he suggested planning laws should be eased for locals in rural areas to redevelop outbuildings as residential properties for their relatives.

He agreed councils had not gone as far as they could have to raise taxes on second homes and said any money raised in that way should be reinvested in building new social housing.

"I think to say councils could be doing more – we should look at that for empty properties as well," he added. "There are far more empty properties across Wales than there are second homes, and local authorities have powers to make sure that those homes are repurposed quickly and efficiently to ensure people have got suitable housing."

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