The chairman of Barmouth Publicity Association brings up an excellent point in his letter referring to the difficulty faced by some local residents in affording to buy property. He rightly concludes that it is the lack of employment opportunities that is the issue, and not second-home owners driving up house prices.

The fundamental problem faced by all first-time buyers lies in the ability to qualify for a mortgage. Lenders are likely to only offer a mortgage of up to three times household income and require at least a 10 per cent deposit obtained from savings.

Gwynedd house prices are among the lowest in the UK there are currently 269 houses for sale in Gwynedd for less than £100,000 of which 78 are less than £70,000. A £90,000 mortgage on a two-bedroom cottage would set back a Gwynedd resident about £404 per month. The same property in Hampshire would cost in the region of £400,000 and the £360,000 mortgage would cost £1,615 per month!

Gwynedd needs inward investment to drive up salaries. The tourist industry is a significant part of the solution but in the longer term it is the small to medium-sized sustainable newtechnology businesses that will deliver higher paid jobs.

Plaid Cymru councillors should concentrate on solving the rootcause of the affordable housing issue - the inability of first time buyers to obtain a mortgage. This will not be achieved by alienating second-home owners, tourists and entrepreneurs, some of whom may want to invest here!

John Rees Moss Bala

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