Demand for housing in parts of coastal Gwynedd has become so acute that householders have been reportedly contacted by would-be buyers seeking properties they can turn into holiday lets.

With property prices skyrocketing in parts of north Wales despite the economic slump, the scale of the challenge facing first-time buyers has been highlighted by councillors in Gwynedd ahead of a planned housing action plan which is set be revealed over the coming days.

Independent group leader Cllr Angela Russell, whose daughter received the letter at her Mynytho home from what seemed to be from individuals living in Halifax seeking property in the Abersoch area, said it was “concerning” how quickly homes in areas such as Llanbedrog and Mynytho are currently being snapped up.

Claiming that properties that would make “excellent homes for first-time local buyers” are now “skyrocketing in price and making what was already a problem even worse. Cllr Russell concluded: “I’m very worried that the demand now seems to be so high that would-be buyers are not even contacting local people and trying to persuade them to sell up.”

Complete with their return contact details, the letter sent to Claire Russell Griffiths stated: “We are looking for a property in the Abersoch area where we could live but also have part of the property let out for holiday lets, in other words we are looking for a property which would give us an income and a home.

“We would be interested in a property that isn’t a holiday let but has potential to be extended to accommodate a holiday let, if you have any friends who are thinking of selling their property which has such potential especially in Mynytho please pass this letter on to them.”

Denbighshire county councillor and prospective Plaid Cymru Senedd candidate for Dwyfor Meirionnydd, Mabon ap Gwynfor, described the letter as “further evidence of the housing crisis,” with local people are “unable to compete in this unrestrained market” and leading to the “hollowing out of communities, increased inequality, and entrenched poverty.”

Recent figures by the Principality Building Society showed that house prices in Gwynedd rose at the highest rate across Wales this summer, reaching a new peak average of £198,279.

With prices in the county rising both annually (8.1%) and quarterly (14.6%), the cost of a detached home shot up from an average of £250,000 during the second quarter of 2020 to £280,000 during the third.

Any while the market boom may be good news for some, others regard it as a “national emergency,” partially blamed on the rise in home-working caused by the pandemic attracting many from bigger cities.

It is claimed that this is further pushing prices out of reach for the vast majority of locals where the average home can often cost ten times the average annual salary, impacting not only the vitality of communities roots but also the vitality of the Welsh language.

As a result, one Gwynedd Labour councillor is now urging party colleagues in Cardiff Bay to act “having never seen the market like it is today,” while the council leader went as far as to claim that a failure to provide the tools to provide enough affordable housing could result in villages across Gwynedd “ceasing to exist as viable functioning communities.”

Labour councillor Sion Jones, who has worked for over a decade in estate agency, said: “Since the Welsh Government announced relief in regards to the Land Transaction Tax (stamp duty), and considering Covid-19 and the sheer volume of properties that have waited to go on the market following the lockdown, the housing market has changed overnight in parts of Gwynedd.

“Prices have skyrocketed to new highs as people from cities in England have decided that they want more open air and space, therefore the north Wales holiday destination has turned into a second home destination, pricing locals out of the area.

“The situation has become so unfortunate by now that there are people over the border sending random letters to home owners asking them to sell, some for second home purposes and some for holiday lets,” added the councillor for Bethel.

‘It is an utter disgrace, and more should be done to ensure that local people are able to stay local and buy homes at an affordable rate.

“The current policies implemented by the Welsh Government and Gwynedd Council are not working practically on the ground, with supposedly affordable housing in places like Abersoch, Mynytho, Nefyn not being so at all.

“Properties with affordable conditions on them are not favourable with the banks for lending, therefore locals are stuck in a difficult spot.

“I urge the Welsh Government to urgently look at this issue at once, and while I’m realistic to think that we cannot do anything with the current stock of housing, for any future development, we must ensure that local people are given priority.

“The way forward would be a housing trust where they could build on plots outside the normal planning boundary, ensuring that locals can obtain housing within their means.

“But the current planning policies are not enough to ensure that local people can stay here.”

Stating that he was keen to take whatever he can, meanwhile, the authority’s leader was adamant that while local people have a fundamental right to live and work in their communities, spiralling house prices and a second homes market that is “completely out of control” means that the right is “being denied to them.”

Cllr Dyfrig Siencyn, who also comes from a property and valuation background, added: “We are doing everything we can within the limited powers available to us to address the situation.

“We have consistently and robustly lobbied the Welsh Government to address the anomaly which allows second home owners to avoid paying any Council Tax whatsoever by registering their properties as businesses.

“Over the coming days we will also be launching an ambitious Housing Action Plan to increase the availability of homes for local people in Gwynedd and publishing an important piece of research work into measures that have been successful in other countries to control the second homes market.

“It is no exaggeration to describe the current situation as a full-blown housing crisis.

“As well as local action, Mark Drakeford and the Welsh Government must also act immediately to introduce the legislation that is desperately needed to address the crisis.

“If they fail to do so, it will only be a matter of a few years before villages across Gwynedd will cease to exist as viable functioning communities.

“The situation really is that serious.”

A Welsh Government spokesperson said: “The First Minister recently met a group of young people from the Llŷn to hear their concerns and their proposals for resolving this complex situation, which some communities in some parts of Wales are experiencing.

“These are important issues for the Welsh Government. Ministers have set up a cross-party group to explore effective and balanced solutions building on the action already taken in this Senedd term.”