North Wales housing special: Town where prices have almost trebled in just 14 years
By Alex Hickey
Average house prices in Abersoch have rocketed from £70,000 in 2000 to more than £200,000
Abersoch, where property prices have soared from £70,000 in 2000 to an average £206,481
House prices have trebled since the year 2000 in Abersoch and the surrounding area.
Homes in the LL53 postcode which covers the Llŷn Peninsula cost just over £70,000 at the turn of the century.
This year they are selling for £206,481 on average – a rise of 194.5%.
That is the sharpest hike anywhere in North Wales, where there has been a significant number of house sales, an analysis of Land Registry data has found.
Two areas which have also seen huge increases are LL59, which covers Menai Bridge on Anglesey where prices have risen from £73,248 to £212,659, and LL56, which covers Y Felinheli and has seen prices soar from £63,047 to £183,103.
Even the cheapest areas of North Wales have seen dramatic rises, such as LL41,which covers Blaenau Ffestiniog. Homes there sold for £33,701 in 2000 and now cost £86,000 on average.
The average price paid for a property so far this year in Wales and England is £256,959 – up from £107,320 in 2000.
Estate agent Tim Goodwin, director of Williams and Goodwin The Property People, said easily accessible credit before the 2008 crash, and a limited supply of housing in areas like Abersoch and Menai Bridge, have helped to fuel the huge percentage rises
Mr Goodwin said: “If you look back a few years to the hedonistic days of the boom, less restricted lending meant new buyers could get a 125% mortgage at relatively cheap rates.
“That fuelled demand. But the law of economics is supply and demand and there is also a restricted supply in Abersoch, Menai Bridge and Y Felinheli and that pushes prices upwards. By comparison, areas like Chester and Cardiff have seen major development over this period.”
Gwynedd Council’s Welsh language champion Craig ab Iago described skyrocketing house price rises as “immoral” in an area that had the lowest wages in the whole of the UK in 2010.
He said: “One of the best things about life in Gwynedd is that there is very little difference between our rich and our poor, we live in the same towns and villages, we go to the same schools, we drink in the same pubs – we genuinely are ‘all in this together’.
“This is in complete contrast to society across the border where everything seems to be unfairly split along ‘have’ and ‘have not’ lines.
“Nobody ever asked us if we wanted this, if we wanted an Abersoch where 50% of the population have no Welsh skills at all, if we wanted to be excluded from our housing market, if we wanted nothing but low skilled, low paid summer jobs.
“We are more than a retirement home, we are more that a pretty view, we are more than a playground for the elite.”
Abersoch’s county councillor RH Wyn William said: “There is a general acceptance in the village now that high prices are a fact of life. I bought my house many years ago for £30,000. I can’t imagine what it is worth now.”
And while he may have personally benefitted from the boom he said there was great concern that the spiralling cost of a home had priced so many young people in particular out of the housing market.
“It’s very hard for young people to get on the ladder. What I would like to see is the council planning officers show some understanding when people who have lived here all their life, who have grown up in Abersoch, apply to build a house or an extension inside Abersoch.
“I would also like to see more rented accommodation built because there is a huge demand for that.”
Abersoch raised man says buying local home 'impossible'
Robert Parry Jones Sam Pilling, 25, who cannot afford to buy a house in his home town of Abersoch
Sam Pilling, 25, who cannot afford to buy a house in his home town of Abersoch
Sam Pilling was born and bred in Abersoch but the chances of him ever owning a home there are “impossible”.
The 25-year-old works in his father’s DIY store in nearby Pwllheli, and the prospect of him buying a property in his home village is so remote that he hasn’t even considered it.
“It’s impossible for me to buy a house locally. I could never afford one,” he said.
Sam and his partner currently rent a property on the outskirts of the Pen Llŷn village where his parents still live.
“The only areas I could afford to buy are right out in the middle of nowhere. Even with renting it’s virtually impossible to get anything affordable in the centre of Abersoch.
“When somewhere does become available it’s about £800 a month and is usually snapped up by a tourist.”
He believes it would be difficult to do anything about the sky-high prices, but he would like more rental properties and affordable housing in general to become available.
“There is just such a demand for any kind of housing here. If there were more rental properties available that might make it a bit easier for locals to find somewhere to live.”
In the meantime any thought of buying in his home village remains a distant dream.