More than 100,000 properties “currently vacant” in Wales, research finds
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More than one in 10 properties currently sit empty in some areas of Wales, according to figures released earlier this month.

The data, published by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) and based on the 2021 Census, shows more than 100,000 Welsh homes are currently vacant – which amounts to seven per cent of the total number across the Principality. An additional 17,575 are classed as second homes, which are often left unoccupied for much of the year.

Counties in the north and west of the country, such as Anglesey, Ceredigion, Gwynedd and Pembrokeshire are particularly badly affected, with more than 10 per cent of properties in these areas described as “truly vacant” – a definition based on factors such as utilities data or Census visits.

Local authorities across Wales are using council tax hikes as one way to bring empty homes back into use. For example, Conwy, which includes part of Snowdonia National Park, charges up to 300 per cent premiums on properties that have sat empty for more than five years.

The Welsh government has provided its backing; for example, legislating to ensure properties are let for a minimum of 182 days a year to qualify for business rates. This move came into force in April and resulted in a dip in second home sales, with some owners selling up.

Housing charities have also called for decisive action to tackle Wales’ empty homes numbers.

Speaking to the BBC, Ruth Power, chief executive of Shelter Cymru, said: “Along with building more social homes, empty properties in Wales could play an important role in providing the homes people desperately need, as well as improving communities and local environments across Wales.”

The ONS data found that London was the only one of nine English regions with a higher proportion of vacant dwellings than Wales, with south-west England the only area with a higher percentage of second homes.

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