House prices in Wales increased by 11.9 per cent in May, the highest rise anywhere in the UK, reflecting biggest annual increase in Wales since 2005.

The average price of a house in Wales now stands at £190,345, according to an index by the Halifax.

Across the UK, the research shows annual house price inflation is at its strongest level in nearly seven years, with house prices increasing by 1.3 per cent month-on-month.

Russell Galley, managing director at Halifax, said: “House prices reached another record high in May, with the average property adding more than £3,000 to its value in the last month alone.

“A year on from the first easing of national lockdown restrictions, and the gradual reopening of the housing market, annual growth surged to 9.5 per cent, meaning the average UK home has increased in value by more than £22,000 over the past 12 months.”

Mr Galley suggested that lockdown restrictions have also resulted in an unexpected build-up of savings, which can now be deployed to fund bigger deposits for bigger properties, potentially pushing property prices even higher.

Buyer preferences have also shifted in anticipation of new, post-pandemic lifestyles, with people working from home and spending less time commuting.

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House price rises in Wales are causing grave concern for residents looking to buy locally in communities where inflation is highest.

On the weekend, The National reported on the plight of one resident in Gwynedd who spoke of the "heart-breaking" 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 our feature on the second home crisis here.

It has also been reported that communities like Cwm-yr-Eglwys in Pembrokeshire are now overwhelmingly made up of second homes, with property values soaring.

Yesterday, First Minister Mark Drakeford said 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".

Other areas of the UK such as Cornwall are suffering a similar crisis.  

Solutions such as a higher council tax premium on second homes and local authorities purchasing empty homes have been put forward as potential solutions.

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