‘If we continue like this, there’s not going to be a community left’

Published 09/06/2022   |   Last Updated 23/06/2022   |   Reading Time minutes

A Senedd Committee is calling on the Welsh Government to use consistent definitions of what ‘second homes’ are when designing policies in a new report launched today.

The Local Government and Housing Committee’s report analysed the Welsh Government’s work in the area and believe better data and consistent definitions would be beneficial.

Currently, data collected by the Welsh Revenue Authority can only measure the number of properties that were bought by individuals where the property was not to be used as their own main residence.

But crucially, it cannot differentiate between buy-to-let investments and properties that may be classed as second homes or holiday lets, which means that the true number in each category is impossible to know.

The Committee urged the Welsh Government to work with the Welsh Revenue Authority to ensure that data on second homes and buy to let properties is clearly separated and available at a community level to help inform future policies.

While giving evidence to the Committee, Professor Nick Gallent of University College London, commented that the division between a second home and a holiday home is “quite opaque and difficult to disentangle”.

The issue of second homes has become a contentious one in recent years with many coastal communities calling for more powers to be able to reduce the amount of second homeowners in their areas.

This led to the Welsh Government establishing a pilot area in Dwyfor, Gwynedd, with the Climate Change Minister Julie James keen to look at several approaches to address the issue.

The Committee urged the Welsh Government to keep a close eye on the pilot and recommended that they should provide updates to the Senedd every six months on its progress as well as set out a plan for measuring longer term impacts, including on tourism.



John Griffiths MS,

Chair of the Local Government and Housing Committee



“The ‘second homes’ question is an emotive issue for communities across Wales but it is important to ensure the sustainability of rural and coastal communities for current and future generations.

“More consistency in defining what a ‘second home’ is, ensuring correct data is collected, and keeping a close eye on the Dwyfor pilot are all priorities. If the Welsh Government listens to our recommendations, they will be in the best possible place for any future action they decide to take.”


'In two years I’ve moved eight times'

Rachel Lewis, from Solva, Pembrokeshire, is concerned about the effect of second homes in her community.

She said, “You grow up and go to university to get a degree and you think that you’ve done ‘the right thing’ and you’ll be able to move back and live around your family - but it’s just not possible. In two years I’ve moved eight times - living in people’s holiday homes, yurts and caravans. I’ve been constantly scrambling, trying to find accommodation.

“Here, the wage isn’t relative at all to the cost of housing, it’s not even close. It’s even hard to find places to rent as it’s all holiday lets or Airbnbs instead of long-term rentals. People come here because they love the coast and the quirky little community, but the irony is, if we continue at the rate we’re going, there’s not going to be a community left.”


More on this story

Second Homes Read the report

Inquiry: Inquiry into second homes