Svoboda | Graniru | BBC Russia | Golosameriki | Facebook

Second homes: Gwynedd Council could buy empty houses

  • Published
AbersochImage source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Abersoch sees its population of 600 skyrocket to 30,000 in the summer

Empty or unused properties could be bought by a council and rented to people in the county in an effort to tackle the issue of second homes.

Gwynedd has 5,098 second homes, a fifth of Wales' total, and one in 10 houses in the area is a second home.

Some people trying to get on the property ladder said they were being priced out of the area.

Gwynedd Council has contacted the owners of 1,200 empty properties to see if they would be interested in selling.

"Bringing vacant houses back into use is a critical part of our housing action plan," said Craig ab Iago, the council's cabinet member for housing and property.

Image caption,
Welsh language campaign group Cymdeithas yr Iaith has called for "urgent action" on the issue

Gwynedd has the highest number of second homes in Wales and there have been long-running rows over how they affect coastal areas.

Second home owners argue they feel like they are being "discriminated against" for buying homes in desirable areas.

The council has had 115 responses from property owners and said it was "currently working on this".

Mr ab Iago said the move was "critical" in "helping us give local people opportunities to settle down in their communities".

He called on more homeowners to get in touch to "discuss any matter related to selling property to the council".

Image caption,
Beauty spots such as the sandy beach Porthdinllaen attracts visitors to the Llyn Peninsula

Campaigners have been calling for action over growing concerns about rising house prices in seaside and rural communities amid fears second home owners are pricing out locals.

Gwynedd council's leader previously called on the Welsh government to act, saying residents were "facing a situation where they cannot afford to buy a home within their local community".