Estate agent says second home owners in Wales are already selling up over council tax hike

Estate agent says second home owners in Wales are already selling up over council tax hike

June 16, 2022 Property News
By Branwen Jones  Welsh Identity Reporter 08:57, 16 JUN 2022

Speaking to BBC Radio Wales Breakfast with Clare Summers, Bangor estate agent Ian Wyn-Jones said that they were already seeing changes for first time buyers even before the premium tax rule had been put in place.

A growing number of second homes are deciding to sell up before the council tax hike, according to one estate agent .The Welsh Government announced tough new rules aimed at combating the number of second homes in rural Welsh communities in March of this year.

The maximum level at which local authorities can set council tax premiums on second homes and long-term empty properties will be increased to 300%, which will be effective from April 2023.

Abersoch in Pen Llyn: a popular tourist destination and a hotspot for holiday and second homes. By next year, councils will get to decide the level that is appropriate for their individual local circumstances, and can be increased by up to 300%

Read more: Crackdown on second homes in Wales will begin next April

Currently, premiums are set at a maximum level of 100% and were paid on more than 23,000 properties in Wales this year. Local authorities opting to apply premiums have access to additional funding, and the Welsh Government has encouraged councils to use these resources to improve the supply of affordable housing.

Under the new rules however, councils will get to decide the level that is appropriate for their individual local circumstances. Councils will be able to set the premium at any level up to the maximum, and they will be able to apply different premiums to second homes and long-term empty dwellings.

Ian Wyn-Jones is an estate agent based in Bangor in Gwynedd and works across north Wales. According to him, certain second home owners were already selling up their properties, which meant that first time buyers were getting on the property ladder.

Speaking to Clare Summers on BBC Radio Wales Breakfast, he said: “What we are seeing here in north Wales is that there’s a lot of properties coming on the market where they wouldn’t have a year ago. So people are planning ahead with this obvious increase by the Welsh Government, which is a good thing but also it could be a bad thing as well for the whole economy.

“Over here in north Wales – more than anything else, we are reliant on tourism. It’s important that we manage the whole process very smoothly but very carefully as well.”

When asked if this was having a major impact in one specific place or in a number of places across Wales, Mr Wyn-Jones replied: “I would say anything above the £400k mark, those second home owners aren’t that fussed to be honest, which is a shame, because with those sort of properties people tend to only come to Wales maybe one or two times a year.

“I think that’s what the Welsh Government is trying to manage, it is those sort of scenarios more than anything else. But yes, it is across the board – the higher the figure, the less it will be hit.”

According to the estate agent, the government’s plan to offer affordable housing for first time buyers was already happening even before the premium tax rule was put in place. He said: “We are seeing this happening right now. We’ve sold a couple of properties where there were second homes in the price point of £150-250k, and we’ve seen them going to local people. It is working slowly.”