The two very different epicentres of Wales' property market boom as prices leap by a quarter in a year - Wales OnlinePublished 20th September By Claire Fenton
House prices are on fire - jumping by a quarter in the last year in two parts of Wales
The latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures for average house prices in Wales - which cover the year from July 2020 to July 2021 - show there are two areas of Wales that are experiencing extraordinary growth. Both are up more than 24% in just 12 months.
Neither does this appear to be the story of second home owners pricing out longstanding residents which we had initially seen as the UK emerged from the pandemic. According to estate agents, these are people seeking family homes in nice places and willing to pay for it.
The epicentres of the hottest Welsh property market has seen for year are now two counties at either end of the nation - one in the north and one in the south.
It shows no part of the nation has been spared by inflation in house prices and people's changing lifestyle preferences.
Conwy showed the strongest growth, rising by 25.0% in the year to July 2021, with Vale of Glamorgan close behind at 24%. The average house price in Conwy county rose from £161,121 to £201,391 and in Vale of Glamorgan from £237,026 to an astronomical £293,916 according to the ONS.
Annual price change and average price by local authority for Wales July 202 to July 2021
1. Conwy: up by 25% to £201,391
2. Vale of Glamorgan: up by 24% to £293,916
3. Denbighshire: up by 19.4% to £185,632
4. Isle of Anglesey: up by 19.4% to £215,559
5. Caerphilly: up by 18.3% to £165,702
6. Carmarthenshire: up by 18.2% to £177,593
7. Blaenau Gwent: up by 17.1% to £112,887
8. Merthyr Tydfil: up by 16.3% to £125,596
9. Gwynedd: up by 16.3% to £181,720
10: Rhondda Cynon Taf: up by 16.2% to £134,847
11. Pembrokeshire: up by 16% to £202,346
12. Wrexham: up by 15.5% to £182,712
13. Powys: up by 13.4% to £213,798
14. Cardiff: up by 12.9% to £240,320
15: Neath Port Talbot: up by 12.4% to £141,946
16. Bridgend: up by 11.6% to £180,789
17. Flintshire: up by 9.8% to £185,647
18. Swansea: up by 9.7% to £170,774
19. Torfaen: up by 8.8% to £170,560
20. Monmouthshire: up by 8.6% to £297,759
21. Newport: up by 7.4% to £205,995
22. Ceredigion: up by 6.2% to £210,351
We spoke to estate agents who told us
The reason for Conwy and Vale of Glamorgan now rising as the epicentres of the current property boom are similar regarding lifestyle but also unique to those particular county's location.
Property experts in the area attribute the area becoming the number one property hotspot in the country to a combination of elements.
The average house price in Conwy rose from £161,121 to £201,391 in the year July 2020 to July 2021 according to the ONS figures.
The county is located along the north coast of Wales and includes a significant slice of the Snowdonia National Park. Between the sea and the mountains are a mix of rural villages, classic seaside towns and arguably the coastal gem Conwy itself.
Website Visit Wales states that the ancient castle is obviously a draw and the town is said to be the finest medieval town in Wales, but there's so much more to discover, such as the smallest house in Britain, Bodnant Gardens and Conwy Mountain, all surrounded by stunning and serene scenery.
Further afield, should you ever want to leave this gorgeous county, Wrexham, Chester and even Liverpool and Manchester are within reach in one direction and the beautiful coast continues along the Menai Straight to the peaceful Llyn Peninsula.
Susanna David, senior negotiator at Strutt & Parker for the north Wales, says: "In this area you get everything!
"Mountains, vales, coast, woodland and community. It ticks all the boxes post-pandemic world. Being in any property that has the grandeur of Snowdonia on one side and majestic views of the sea on the other ticks most buyers' boxes.''
"We're finding in this area it's mainly families, retirees, and with the ability to now work from home, Wales has become ‘closer’ for infrequent commuters too looking to move here.
"We seem to have interest in everything from complete projects, to purpose built, to country houses, to small businesses. Coastal properties will always go quickly.
"Those properties with a manageable acreage are also very attractive; enough for privacy and self-sufficiency, but not so much as to be overwhelming."
Charlie Kannreuther, head of residential sales at Savills in the North West and West Midlands says: "Lifestyle is a key driver. The pandemic has caused people to rethink their way of living and many are looking for access to the coast and mountains for a different way of life.
"Access also plays a key part in desirability with the A55 linking to the motorway network in Chester and train links to Holyhead from London Euston station. And homes with outside space and proximity to good walks continue to be incredibly sought after.
"The market is generally buoyant although it can be very location specific. We are seeing high demand in holiday locations in particular including Conway, Abersoch, Rhosneigr and Trearddur Bay on Anglesey."
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Simon Allen, local property partner for Purplebricks in Wales, says: "I have found there are more people further afield from different parts of Wales and England looking for a change of scenery, who are finding particularly Conwy an attractive place to live due to the local amenities and transport links whilst still maintaining excellent costal views.
"House prices have undoubtedly risen here, with more first time buyers competing against each other because of lower deposits needed to secure a mortgage."
Chloe Robinson, Yopa's local agent for the region says: "Personally I’m seeing a lot of buyers from Chester and also from down south relocating due to being able to work from home; it's mostly people who are from the area who are moving ‘back home’ to be closer to their family and friends.
"There is a lot more competition for houses within all of these areas; there's just not enough stock for the amount of buyers looking right now."
Vale of Glamorgan
As with Conwy, Vale of Glamorgan is a county that is a perfectly located to combine coast with countryside with amenities nearby.
Situated between Cardiff and Swansea, cities and transport links to the wider world are close but not too close; vast areas of the county offer pockets of peace with either the coast or rural idyllic spots to live.
In the year July 2020 to July 2021 house prices have risen by 24% according to the ONS, from an average of £237,026 to £293,916.
Oozing with history, the county has been a beautiful place to call home for thousands of years, with evidence of bronze age settlements as well as Roman inhabitants dotted across the land.
Undulating hills and hidden valleys and dells are joined by beaches and a slice of the seashore that can boast the title of Glamorgan Heritage Coast.
There are smallholdings, period properties steeped in history and cottages within the small hamlets and villages, continuing strong sense of community.
But for anyone wanting more of a hustle and bustle, the town of Cowbridge in the county's countryside centre and Penarth on the coast have always been popular places to live, but are currently seeing an influx of more buyers.
For commuting to Cardiff the towns of Barry, Penarth and Dinas Powys have all become popular places to relocate outside the capital's boundary.
Barry is seen as the more reasonable option out of this trio of towns for house hunters wanting to get more bricks and mortar for their budget.
As with Conwy in the north, the ability to work from home for so many more people is behind some of the increasing heat in this local pocket of the property market.
Rachel Mullins, Peter Alan Cowbridge branch manager says: "Since Covid-19 there has been a high level of prospective purchasers looking to re locate to the countryside and coastal locations and as the Vale of Glamorgan has it all, the demand for this area grew very quickly, especially for families looking for larger, detached properties with land.
"Initially the buyers were flocking from out of urban areas but it now seems that it has settled down and it is mostly families in the area who are looking to upsize and a lot of couples looking to down size, or as I say 'right size'.
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The Covid-19 pandemic has created a unique property market, with prices rising in many areas.
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"Cowbridge and surrounding villages remain incredibly popular, especially because of the school catchment but equally Ogmore-by-sea, Llantwit Major are very popular as they are coastal locations.
"In all honestly, everywhere within the Vale is sought after because of its beautiful countryside, picturesque villages, breath taking scenery and excellent road links.
"The prices have become record breaking and the market is unprecedented as the demand continues to outweigh the availability."138266811598
Daniel Thomas, from Fine & Country, says: "It's no surprise that the ONS are reporting such great growth for property in The Vale, as we all know it has always been a popular area but with the growing trend to escape to the country, rural properties with great access to the road network have been selling light the proverbial hot cake.
"When you throw in proximity to the coast then the market has just been crazy. As buyers take advantage of cheap borrowing we are going to see this upward trend in pricing continue."
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