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“Airbnb pricing us out of our communities!” – MP slams short lets

An MP claims the proliferation of short lets via Airbnb and similar online platforms is indirectly pricing local people out of their areas.

Hywel Williams, MP for Arfon in Wales, says there has been a huge increase in short lets across the county of Gwynedd – a trend that “simply isn’t sustainable” as people are being priced out of homes in their own communities.

Williams, a Plaid Cymru MP, says “greater controls” are required to limit the volume of local housing stock used for short lets.

A recent report by Welsh nationalists claimed a third of homes sold in Gwynedd and on Anglesey in the past year were purchased as additional properties.

Meanwhile Welsh Revenue Authority figures show that 38 per cent of house purchases in Gwynedd in the year to April involved a duty surcharge – the sign that they were likely to be second homes or buy to lets.

This is the highest proportion anywhere in Wales.

The MP has told local media: ”Whilst letting out your own home for a short period to supplement your income is understandable, what we are now seeing are houses being permanently taken out of the local housing stock for holiday rental purposes.

“The proliferation of Airbnb properties and similar UK wide and international companies nowadays is not only limited to rural, isolated communities. We are fast-seeing terraced houses in urban areas across Gwynedd being snapped-up as long-term holiday rentals.

“And these are two to three-bedroom properties, which would otherwise be ideal starter homes for young families or first-time buyers. It simply isn’t sustainable to have so much of our local housing stock being put beyond the reach of those who live and work here, not to mention taking a market share from local guesthouses and B&Bs.”

He is urging the Welsh Government to follow the example set by cities such as Paris, Berlin, Amsterdam and Barcelona, which all have restrictions on Airbnb and similar lettings.

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