In October, the average house price in Wales rose 12.9 percent compared to the same time last year, with the average cost of a property in the country reaching a whopping £198,880. Although this is lower than the average house price nationwide, which stands at £270,000, the percentage increase is significantly higher. House prices in the UK as a whole have risen 8.1 percent since this time last year.
There are many factors to blame for the property price hike in Wales, the most obvious being the pandemic.
Since the first national lockdown, thousands of city dwellers relocated to more rural areas, desiring a change of lifestyle as working from home became more viable.
Earlier this year, the number of Londoners who had left the capital during the pandemic was estimated at 700,000, according to a study led by the Economic Statistics Centre of Excellence.
With the average Londoner earning £728 a week, according to the latest ONS statistics, it seems many Welsh people feel that big city workers are the only ones who will be able to – and are able to – afford to buy a property in their local area.
Angharad Williams, 25, is an information analyst from Anglesey, North Wales, and is in the process of purchasing a house as a first time buyer.
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Even though she wanted to settle near her family home on the west coast of Anglesey, she couldn’t afford it.
She told Express.co.uk: “I’ve been looking at moving out from my parents’ house for a few years now, however all the houses on and around Anglesey are very overpriced and you don’t get a lot for your money.
“I found it very disheartening at first and had to finally settle on moving away.
“Although, even after widening my search I still struggled as many houses sold within days of being put on the market.
“I feel like I’ve been pushed away from my hometown and forced to settle elsewhere.”
Angharad said she is now close to buying a house in Mold, a town an hour and 15 minutes away from her hometown, where she will not know anyone.
This, she said, is the reality for most young people.
“I believe it has an impact on our mental health as people feel lonelier as all our friends and family are being forced out the area due to unaffordable house prices.”
Angharad added: “It makes me sad, local communities are struggling and it’s another struggle for the Welsh language and culture.”
The decline of the Welsh language and culture is also a cause for concern for Gruff Davies, also from North Wales.
The 25-year-old, who rents a flat with a friend in Bangor and works for his local council, said second homeowners are to blame for unaffordable house prices, pushing locals out of their local area and consequently leading to the disappearance of the language.
He said: “I think the reason we can’t afford to buy a house in our own community is very simple –second homeowners.
“This, I feel, is particularly a problem for coastal areas and towns like Pembrokeshire, Anglesey, and Pen Llyn.
“The wages offered in huge cities such as London are incomparable to those offered in rural areas such as Anglesey.
“People simply cannot compete with them.”
Gruff added, however, that he is not angry with “these people who buy the houses as I feel I would do the same in their position”, but he “feels resentment” that “it is allowed to happen so freely”.
“There is the eradication of local culture,” he said.
“I am aware in Abersoch that the primary school has closed down due to the town being a ghost town in the off-season.
“I feel more needs to be done on a national level to ensure that communities are not essentially up for sale to the highest bidder.”
Increased house prices in Wales are also making it harder for people to return to their home country after moving away for work or education.
Amy Jones, 25, from Swansea, lives in west London and is training to be an architect.
She has no plans to move back to Wales any time soon.
She said: “Increased prices put me off because if I was working in Swansea the wage would likely not be as high.
“It’s definitely making me want to just stay in England where I’ll get paid more.”
Amy added: “I think that second homeowners should be controlled so that they don’t proportionally outweigh full time residents.”
Carol Peett, owner of property consultant West Wales Property Finders based in Pembrokeshire, also believes rules should be put in place surrounding the purchasing of second homes – in order to solve the problem of unaffordable housing.
She said: “Where there is a massive problem with house prices being pushed up, and out of reach of locals, is in properties under £250,000.
“These are the type of properties that young local families would be able to afford – small terraced houses in places like Tenby, Saundersfoot, and St Davids, which are now being bought up as second homes.”
Carol added: “The simple solution to this would be to prevent properties under £250,000 being sold as second homes.
“At present there is such a lack of stock of cheaper housing due to this that prices are inevitably rising at ridiculous levels.”
Welsh people want the Senedd to listen to their concerns and work to solve the problem before house prices in the country increase further.
Earlier this year, a Facebook group entitled ‘Na i dai haf/No to second homes’ was created for those who wanted to discuss the matter and attempt to change things.
The group now has more than 3,000 members and has organised a rally against second homes, called ‘Nid yw Cymru ar werth/Wales is not for sale’, which will take place this weekend, November 13, in front of the Welsh government’s building in Cardiff Bay.
Stifyn Richard Ap Dafydd, 30, from Llanfairfechan in North Wales is one of the thousands of protesters expected to be at the rally.
He is going because, he said, “to put it simply, second homes kill”.
“They kill our communities. Kill our culture. Kill our language. They threaten our way of life.
“We need to protect our communities now.”