Grappling With A Rural Housing Shortage

red tourist train passing homes in Gwynedd, Wales
Lyd at Penrhyn Crossing photo by Peter Trimming is licensed under CC BY 2.0
Gwynedd, Wales: a popular tourist destination.

Residents of Gwynedd, Wales are looking for ways to overcome a housing shortage.

It is tucked up next to Snowdonia National Park, which is popular with tourists. It’s also a five hour drive from London and so relatively remote. People with money are buying up local homes as second properties. Other properties are being let as short term rentals and held off the housing market. Local people are unable to afford local housing and becoming homeless.

Gwynedd council, along with every other local council in the UK, has a duty to accommodate people who are homeless. The council has taken advantage of available initiatives to build housing that should be affordable to locals. The results have been disappointing as many of the new units have been snapped up by tourists as second properties.

Frustrated, local authorities are still determined to find ways to maintain a steady supply of housing for year-round residents. One idea is to use planning permission to control the purchase of second homes, which currently gives councils oversight of new developments that are proposed for the community. Planning permission does not extend to controlling the purchase of second homes, but some people in Gwynedd think it should.

This story will be of particular interest for rural communities where permanent residents are becoming homeless as well as those concerned with the financialization of housing, which is undermining housing affordability in rural as well as urban markets.1

Read more about this and other ideas in the North Wales Chronicle: Call for second homes in Snowdonia to have planning permission


  1. For other posts on this issue, try: Will You Live Long Enough To Find Rural Affordable Housing In The UK? Quite Probably Not. and Is Waiting 1.5 Centuries For Social Housing Good For UK Business?

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