Nearly half of all homes sold in Dwyfor Meirionnydd last year were sold as second homes, according to Plaid Cymru.

Data from the Welsh Revenue Authority, published this week, show higher rates of land transaction tax were paid on 44 per cent of property sales in the constituency in 2020/21.

Higher rates of the tax are paid when someone who currently owns a house buys another. Plaid said the data backs their calls for urgent Welsh Government intervention to address second-home pressures on communities, especially in hotspots in the northern and western areas.

The issue has reached crisis point in recent years, according to campaigners, with locals forced out of the housing market in their communities due to a lack of affordable, available properties.

The government has published plans for a “three-pronged approach” to respond to the crisis, but opposition parties have already suggested the response doesn’t go far enough.

Plaid’s housing spokesman Mabon ap Gwynfor, who is also the MS for the area, said the tax figures “confirm what we already knew: this is a crisis that will devastate communities if urgent government action isn’t taken”.

He said: “Nearly half of the housing stock in my constituency of Dwyfor Meirionydd were sold as second homes followed by Pembrokeshire, Carmarthen West and Ynys Mon – areas where communities there have been blighted by the second homes crisis."

Ministers should bring in heavier land transaction tax rates for second-home buyers, he added.

Ap Gwynfor’s comments come ahead of a planned speech at a rally, organised by Cymdeithas yr Iaith (the Welsh Language Society), which will take place at the Tryweryn dam in Bala later today (Saturday), to protest against the “collapse of communities” caused by the ongoing housing crises.

The government's proposals to deal with the growing crisis include measures to address housing affordability in affected areas, bring in tighter regulations for holiday accommodation and short-term lets, and adapt tax rates so that second-home owners make "a fairer contribution".

“A high concentration of second homes or holiday lets can have a very detrimental impact on small communities, and in some areas could compromise the Welsh language being spoken at a community level," Welsh Government minister Julie James said when she announced the plans.

“Our new three-pronged approach will kick-start a summer of action which will determine how we tackle this issue now and into the future."

But ap Gwynfor said the government's response needed more urgency.

"Consultations, trials and pilot schemes are not going to be enough. What our communities need is action – and fast," he said.