A Borth-y-Gest councillor has blamed Brexit for an apparent rise in houses being bought as holiday homes in Gwynedd over the past 12 months.

Statistics from the Welsh Revenue Authority show that 37 per cent of house transactions in Gwynedd for 2018/19 were subject to a higher rate of transaction tax, meaning they were bought as second homes or buy-to-let properties.

At 37 per cent, the figure for Gwynedd is the highest in Wales.

Cllr Simon Brooks, who represents Borth-y-Gest on Porthmadog Town Council, said: “I was shocked to see these figures, which show that Gwynedd has over a third of house buyers paying the highest rate of tax on their purchase.

“We don’t have a high level of buy-to-let in Gwynedd, so this figure can only be explained by second home purchases.

“In my view, the Brexit crisis is making the holiday home problem we have worse.

“People are not buying second homes in France or Spain because of legal uncertainties, and are turning their attention to Wales.

“We already have something approaching half the housing stock in my ward of Borth-y-Gest as holiday homes. This is not sustainable.

“We need to see action so that permanent residents can have access to the property market.

“Over the past year, I have been leading a university research project comparing holiday homes policy in Wales and Cornwall.

“In Cornwall, they use the planning system to try and control the sudden recent growth in second homes.

“My view is that we would benefit in Gwynedd if Wales were to do the same.”

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