On­line regis­ter is giv­ing more choice in housing search

Llanelli Star - - LETTERS - Richard Youle @YoulePost [email protected]­line.co.uk 01792 545553

A NEW way of bid­ding for empty prop­er­ties is giv­ing peo­ple in Car­marthen­shire more choice in where they live, an ex­ec­u­tive board mem­ber has said.

Coun­cil­lor Linda Evans said the coun­cil’s Can­fod Cartref Homefinder web­site is prov­ing pop­u­lar with peo­ple on the housing regis­ter, who can scour what is avail­able and throw their hat in the ring for a prop­erty at the click of a but­ton.

Be­fore the web­site was launched in April, coun­cil of­fi­cers would phone peo­ple on the housing regis­ter when an empty prop­erty be­came avail­able.

Now peo­ple on the regis­ter can see what is avail­able across the county when around 20 empty prop­er­ties are added on­line every Thurs­day at midnight.

“Long term, I think it will cre­ate sus­tain­able com­mu­ni­ties,” said Mrs Evans, ex­ec­u­tive board mem­ber for housing.

“Peo­ple have cho­sen to live some­where. It’s not us telling them.”

The coun­cil and housing as­so­ci­a­tion prop­er­ties which ap­pear on the Can­fod Cartref Homefinder web­site are al­lo­cated to bid­ders ac­cord­ing to need.

Bids are an ex­pres­sion of in­ter­est and have no mon­e­tary value – and there is no restrictio­n on how many bids you can make each week.

The max­i­mum num­ber of bids for one prop­erty so far is 95 – the av­er­age is around 10 per prop­erty.

The web­site in­for­ma­tion in­cludes a photo or pho­tos of the prop­erty, the rent and any other charges, a Google Maps im­age of the area, de­tails of lo­cal schools, and de­tails of any adap­ta­tions such as a wet room.

Mrs Evans said this in­for­ma­tion could per­suade some­one to live in an area they had not pre­vi­ously con­sid­ered.

The ex­ec­u­tive board mem­ber also said that anal­y­sis of web­site us­age proved a ru­ral as well as ur­ban housing need across the county.

Low-cost own­er­ship prop­er­ties are also ad­ver­tised on the Can­fod Cartref Homefinder web­site.

There are cur­rently just un­der 2,000 peo­ple on the housing regis­ter in Car­marthen­shire.

The Plaid-In­de­pen­dent ad­min­is­tra­tion also wants to de­liver 1,000 af­ford­able homes be­tween 2016 and 2021, and has ear­marked £44 mil­lion to build new coun­cil houses over the next three years. A fur­ther £45 mil­lion will be spent up­grad­ing the coun­cil’s ex­ist­ing housing stock.

Around 70 prop­er­ties have been snapped up by bid­ders on Can­fod Cartref Homefinder since the scheme was launched, with only one re­main­ing empty.

“What is im­por­tant for us is that ev­ery­body has an op­por­tu­nity to bid,” added Mrs Evans.

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