The council says the plan to limit second homes could impact house prices
- Written by Brendon Williams
- BBC News
A controversial proposal to force people to obtain planning permission for their second homes could bring down property prices, Gwynedd Council has said.
The local authority said it was “inevitable” that prices would fall, perhaps by around 5%.
Senghor Gwynedd says the city has a “huge housing crisis”, fueled largely by a high concentration of second homes.
Tourism leaders and residents have expressed concerns about the proposal.
Public consultation on the plan ends on Wednesday and a final decision is expected next year.
Welsh Government amendments to the planning regulations have introduced three new categories of use – main home, second home and short-term holiday accommodation.
Councils now also have the power to control the use of homes as second homes or holiday lettings.
Earlier this year, Gwynedd voted to go ahead with plans to issue a so-called Section 4 directive, which would require people to obtain planning permission for second homes or short-term holidays in the county.
“It is inevitable that intervention through the introduction of the Article 4 Directive, thereby controlling the use of residential units, will have a (possibly minimal) impact on property values,” she said in a report aimed at justifying the move. Property on the open market.”
She said the value of the property will decrease because the new rules will restrict what it can be used for.
“Therefore, it is worth noting that such a restriction could be a way to secure low-cost homes on the market within the housing market,” the report added.
The report said it was impossible to predict exactly what impact the policy would have, but said “it is inevitable that the Article 4 Directive will have a similar impact on house prices”.
Gwynedd Council has already imposed a 150% council tax premium on second home owners.
North Wales Tourism has accused the council of “anti-tourism” policies, while a North Wales Send member described the plans as “ridiculous”.
Ederne resident Davin Jones is one of a 1,000-strong Facebook group opposing the plans, and said the council was “playing Russian roulette with people’s assets”.
“It’s very easy to take it personally when someone says with the stroke of a pen, ‘We’re going to devalue everyone’s home,'” he said.
He said the proposal represented a “good gesture policy” that would attract “a small, perhaps hard-line sector.”
“But if I needed to sell to move into a care home, or if my wife and I died and I wanted to leave my house to my son, he would immediately be hit with 300% council tax and would have to try to sell it at a value that’s not actually what it’s really worth,” Mr Jones added.
However, the council said large numbers of holiday accommodation and second homes “could pose a real threat to the social, cultural and economic prosperity of communities across Gwynedd”.
She said that, on average, 65.5% of the county’s population were priced out of the housing market, rising to 96.1% in hotspots such as Abersoch and Aberdaron.
“Will house prices go down? I don’t know if that will happen in the future. Nobody knows,” said Craig Up Yago, cabinet member for housing.
“House prices tend to go up all the time anyway.
“But do we need houses to be more affordable for people in Gwynedd? Can anyone disagree with that?”
“This is the main goal of this consultation, which is to try to understand the nuances of it and not just this black and white,” he said.
Mark Roberts, a planning and environmental law consultant, said other measures were needed if the goal was to lower house prices.
“It’s not just about the Title IV guidance itself. It helps, but I can’t expect prices to go down because of it,” he said.