According to Cardiff-based property expert Mike Rees from Bruton Knowles recent figures from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) underlined the extent to which the Principality was falling behind the wider recovery in the construction sector.
“The RICs report analysing property trends in Wales presents a virtual mirror image of the situation on the other side of the Severn Bridge.
“In England, too many people are chasing too few homes. Yet the RICs report tells us the number of new properties coming onto the market in Wales has actually increased while the number of new buyers has declined.”
House prices continue to lag behind the UK and enquiries from prospective buyers have fallen to their lowest level since August 2014.
“Although surveyors are anticipating a modest rise in house prices over the next 12 months we don’t appear to be generating the buzz needed to get people talking, looking and moving.”
Mike, who heads up Bruton Knowles’ Cardiff office, said more needs to be done to encourage the development of brownfield land across Wales on a viable basis.
“We need to bring new land forward through the planning system. Cardiff in particular still has not got an adopted local plan and I envisage major problems with the proposed allocations without a commensurate transportation and infrastructure strategy.
“Re-development costs are higher here in comparison to England and building regulations regarding brownfield development in the Principality are hindering the building of new homes. We need to be doing more to free the shackles.
“As from this month, multiple occupation premises such as residential care homes, certain hostels, B&Bs and student accommodation are required to include fire sprinklers in their design.
“This will be extended to all new and converted residential property, including houses and flats from 1 January 2016 - all of which adds to basic building costs.”
Similarly, disparities in the new Community Infrastructure Levies (CILs), which are being phased in to replace Section 106 agreements, are not helping the situation.
Mike Rees said: “In particular there appears to be an emerging inconsistency as to how these are being applied by each local authority.
“It’s hard to see developers investing millions of pounds in Wales if they get better concessions elsewhere.
“The sooner the rules on planning gain and CILs is sorted out the better. That way we can look forward to addressing the much needed housing shortage across the country.”
“For instance the work on the proposed tidal lagoons in Swansea, Cardiff, Newport and Colwyn Bay could provide a catalyst for residential, business and leisure development with opportunities to deliver some long-term benefits to the region and we need to be prepared to realise on this potential”