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Supply: New partnership provides boost to rural housing

A housing partnership launched in north west Wales by Grŵp Cynefin and Gwynedd Council is aiming to boost the supply of rural housing in communities across the county.

The Local Homes Scheme will see the local authority provide funding to ensure that schemes are viable.

For example, the first scheme completed under the scheme is a development of nine homes for sale through shared equity in Mynytho on the Llŷn Peninsula.

The village is situated in a tourism hot spot, popular with second home owners, which has driven up the cost of property. Whilst the new properties have an open market value of £205,000 to £230,000, average local salaries remain low at around £22,000, meaning that young local families are often priced out of the market.

Thanks to the funding provided by the scheme, Grŵp Cynefin are able to sell the properties through shared equity, with purchasers owning a minimum of 50 per cent and maximum 80 per cent share of the property. When owners move on, they will sell their share back to Grŵp Cynefin or to a nominated person, ensuring that the properties remain affordable in the future.

Future developments by the partnership will be planned according to local housing need. Locations have been selected because they lack specific opportunities for young people wishing to buy a first home or rent a property in a rural community, but the scheme also recognises that it’s not a ‘one size fits all’ approach.

Dafydd Lewis, Grŵp Cynefin vice vhair, Cllr Ioan Thomas of Gwynedd Council and Catrin Roberts, affordable homes manager for Grŵp Cynefin

Whilst local affordability is the issue in Mynytho, 22 miles away in the village of Penygroes, the market price of a home is lower than the cost of building it. Here, funding from the partnership will ensure the viability of the new homes, and tenure will be decided taking into account the needs of the local community.

Grŵp Cynefin specialises in providing affordable homes in rural communities, and since it’s formation in 2014, has invested over £10 million in 108 new rural homes.

Chief executive Walis George said:

‘Young people in particular are continuing to be priced out of the local housing market. Thanks to this partnership, they can buy on the open market or find a suitable home to rent in their locality.

‘Fewer local people should have to move away, just to afford a roof over their heads. The partnership recognises the need to be flexible, in some areas, people need help to buy, whilst in others, rental could be a better option.’

Councillor Ioan Thomas, Gwynedd Council’s cabinet member for housing, said:

‘If we want to ensure the long-term sustainability of our rural communities it is vital that young families have access to suitable housing that allows them to stay in Gwynedd.

‘By working with Grŵp Cynefin, we will be able to offer the kind of housing that local residents require – homes to rent, houses to buy and shared ownership suitable for first time buyers and in other cases bungalows that would be more suitable for older residents.’

Case study

Robart Williams, 21, and his partner, Gwen Jones, 20, are buying their new home in Mynytho through shared ownership. Robart still lives with his parents in Pwllheli, while Gwen lives with her family in Pencaenewydd.

Robart Williams: ‘We can move in together sooner’

Robart said:

‘We can move in together sooner, because we can afford to buy our own home through this scheme. Grŵp Cynefin owns a share of the property, which makes the remaining share affordable for us to buy.

‘We can also continue to live locally. Our house in Mynytho is just five minutes away from where Gwen works, whereas I work in Caernarfon.’

Robart is a technician for Gwynedd Consultancy, an arm’s-length company owned by Gwynedd Council, while Gwen works as a child minder in the Meithrinfa Blagur nursery.


Purchasing with a 25 per cent discount from market value prices by way of a 75:25 shared equity

  • Full price £205,000
  • Affordable price at 75 per cent £153,750
  • Minimum deposit of 5 per cent of full price £10,250 (some lenders may accept 5 per cent of affordable price)
  • Balance to be met with a mortgage £143,500
  • Current mortgage rates (based on 5 per cent deposit and 30-year repayment mortgage with repayments fixed at 3.09 per cent for five years £611.53 per month (from month 61 reverting to the building society’s 3.99 per cent variable rate £672.87 per month)
  • Valuation fee – to be paid when applying for a mortgage.

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