THE First Minister has pledged that his government will do all it can to ensure people aren’t being priced out of owning a home in the community where they grew up.

Concerns have been raised by several Senedd Members about the affordability of housing in Wales – especially for those just getting their foot onto the property ladder.

The issue was raised in the Senedd chamber by Rhun ap Iorwerth MS, representing Ynys Môn residents.

Quizzing the Labour leader, he said: “I think it's very appropriate that the first question of this new parliamentary term relates to an issue which is such a crisis, and one which people are insisting on having action upon.

“One clear contribution to the housing crisis is the uncontrolled growth in the second homes market. We see it on a daily basis - I see it in my own village, in coastal villages particularly.

“We see it in the dark windows of the winter and in the frustration of young people who can't afford a home in their own communities. We also see it in the increase of 16 per cent in the cost of property on Anglesey.”

Mr Iorwerth claimed that “things are getting worse every day” in his constituency.

The average Anglesey house price in March was almost £211,500, the latest Land Registry figures show, with first-time buyers on the island spending an average of £178,000 on their property.

This is the highest in all North Wales:

The same topic has been also raised by newly-appointed MS for the North Wales region Carolyn Thomas – of Flintshire – in her maiden speech on May 26.

In her first contribution to the Senedd chamber discussions, she asked Mr Drakeford: “I know the housing situation is difficult for residents in Ynys Môn. It has been clear to me through emails that residents need more affordable housing.

“I commend the Welsh Government for reaching its ambitious 20,000 affordable homes target last term and committing to building a further 20,000 low carbon homes this term.

“The Welsh Labour Government has also provided transformative funding for social housing to local authorities, such as Flintshire where I am a Member.

North Wales Chronicle: Carolyn Thomas MS, pictured, raised the issue in the Senedd. [Inset Image: Carolyn Thomas MS / Facebook]

Carolyn Thomas MS, pictured, raised the issue in the Senedd. [Inset Image: Carolyn Thomas MS / Facebook]

"We are looking to build 500 affordable homes, allowing them to build affordable homes whilst creating jobs and apprenticeships for local people.”

Ms Thomas appealed for the First Minister to share homebuilding plans via local authorities to help address housing shortages where people are struggling to afford a place to call home.

Our sister title, The Leader, put these concerns to the Labour MS once more.

Responding to the worries raised across the region, Mr Drakeford said: “One of the things we need to do is to have more high-quality homes that charge social rent so that people on modest incomes – and want to be able to stay in areas – have a supply of homes to choose from.

“The new government is committed to the largest ever number of homes for social rent to be built over the next five years – 20,000 low carbon homes at that social rent price.

“That will benefit communities across North Wales – and Ynys Môn as well.”

The Leader also raised the real issue of second home ownership that is a factor in pushing local people away from areas they grew up – a highly troubling factor in coastal areas of North Wales.

Mr Drakeford said: “I am very committed to working with other parties to devise a set of measures that can help protect those communities where young people in particular find that they cannot work and live in the place where they grew up.

“There are things that we can do to strengthen some of the powers that there are in relation to taxation. We already charge a premium for people wanting to buy a second home but there is more we have to do.”

The Labour MS explained how he wants to explore the idea of offering more powers to local authorities when it comes to council taxing these second homes.

He adds that there are also planning powers they can utilise.

For example, when more homes are built in the near future, Mr Drakeford said there should be a priority requirement that a percentage is given to people that can prove their local roots.

He said: “There is no one measure that will work to solve the whole of the problem – but there are a series of things we can do – and draw together – to make an effective response to the issue in North Wales.

“In the Senedd I don’t believe this is a part political issue, all parties recognise this issue. I want to work with other parties in order to get the best possible result for the people of Wales.”