Thursday, November 26, 2020
UK

MP warns Airbnbs pricing people out of their communities

Airbnbs

Over a third of homes sold in Gwynedd and Anglesey were purchased as second properties, according to a report by the Party of Wales

Hywel Williams MP has spoken out against the proliferation of Airbnbs in towns and villages across Gwynedd.

The Arfon MP claims that the current system “simply isn’t sustainable” as people are being priced out of homes in their own communities.

He says that “greater controls” are urgently needed to tackle the issue of homes being taken out of the local housing stock for holiday rental purposes.

The Welsh Government should follow the example set by European cities, he says, and limit the number of days homes can be let out.

The Plaid Cymru MP says that these are houses that “would otherwise be ideal starter homes for young families or first-time buyers.”

A recent report by the Party of Wales says that over a third of homes sold in Gwynedd and Anglesey in the last financial year were purchased as second properties.

In Gwynedd, recent figures published by the Welsh Revenue Authority (WRA) show that 38% of residential transactions in the county were charged at the higher rates of Land Transaction Tax (LTT) between March 2019 and April 2020 – the highest proportion across Wales.

WRA say there are multiple reasons why the higher rates of residential tax could be charged under LTT, including the purchase of buy-to-let properties; second homes or holiday homes; bridging between two properties, and purchases by companies, such as social housing providers.

There has been a number of protests recently about what is being described as the ‘second home crisis’ in North Wales.

Another protest was held on Anglesey earlier this month by campaigners who that claim holiday homes now make up 70% of properties in some coastal hotspots.

Hywel Williams MP said: Whilst letting out your own home for a short period to supplement your income is understandable, what we are now seeing are houses being permanently taken out of the local housing stock for holiday rental purposes.

The proliferation of Airbnb properties and similar UK wide and international companies nowadays is not only limited to rural, isolated communities. We are fast-seeing terraced houses in urban areas across Gwynedd being snapped-up as long-term holiday rentals. And these are two to three-bedroom properties, which would otherwise be ideal starter homes for young families or first-time buyers, Williams said.

Williams said, it simply isn’t sustainable to have so much of our local housing stock being put beyond the reach of those who live and work here, not to mention taking a market share from local guesthouses and B&Bs. We urgently need greater controls around the volume of houses that can transfer from being primary homes to second homes or buy-to-let holiday accommodation.

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