House Hunting in … Wales

There are seven bedrooms on the second floor, and the spacious stair landing offers access to the four main ones, all of which have fireplaces. One also has an en-suite bathroom, while another has an expansive bay window and a third has a dressing room. There is a bathroom off the landing, with a double Jacuzzi tub. The remaining three bedrooms on the second floor, which have fireplaces as well, are at the rear of the house. Two more bedrooms are on the third floor, along with a full bathroom.

The two-bedroom lodge house at the approach to the home currently has tenants, Mr. Hoyle said. Besides the three-bedroom gardener’s cottage, which also has tenants, there is also a one-story brick building with a workshop, party room, barbecue area and deck.

Plas-yn-Cwm has extensive landscaping, including a walled garden, orchard, vegetable garden and Japanese garden. There is a wooded area with a pond, and the property has mature sequoia, Lebanon cedar and redwood trees, Mr. Hoyle said.

The estate is at the northern end of the Vale of Clwyd, on the boundary of a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty called the Clwydian Range and Dee Valley. The city of St. Asaph, with about 3,400 residents, is within easy walking distance, and has shops, restaurants, pubs and a hospital, Mr. Hoyle said. The region has hunting and fishing, bird-watching, hiking, golf courses, surfing, sailing, mountain biking, an abundance of National Trust properties to visit and other attractions. There are also several private schools nearby. Chester, England, with a population of just under 120,000, is about a half-hour drive and has supermarkets and other amenities. The international airports in Manchester and Liverpool are about 50 minutes away by car, Mr. Hoyle said.


Home prices in Wales have steadily increased in recent years, though at a slower rate than those in England, with South Wales — where the capital city, Cardiff, is — outperforming North Wales, said Stephen Cheshire, a director with the Chester office of Jackson-Stops, which has the listing for Plas-yn-Cwm.

Prices have been rebounding from the global financial crisis that hit in 2008, agents said. Properties valued in the “lower to midrange have attained and, in some cases, exceeded the peak of September 2007,” Mr. Cheshire said. “Whereas the top end of the market is not quite there.”

In general, prices in Wales have remained relatively stable thanks to “a perceived good value compared to the southeast of England and the commuter belt around London,” said Alastair Summerfield, the head of the Chester office of the estate agency Strutt & Parker.

For about 1.5 million pounds, or $2.1 million, he said, you could buy a three-bedroom apartment in the Chelsea area of London or a historic four-bedroom farmhouse near Cirencester, England, some 90 miles from northwest London. But in Flintshire, in North Wales, Mr. Summerfield said, a castle recently sold for the same amount.

The housing market in North Wales has traditionally been driven by buyers from the West Midlands in England, he said, but recently agents have been seeing an influx of English buyers from the south, as well as retirees. And “developers, also absent since the recession, are returning and buying barns for conversion,” Mr. Summerfield said.

The average price of a home in Wales in August 2017 was 150,258 pounds, or about $211,000, Mr. Summerfield said. In North Wales, the price of country properties has remained stable in recent years, he said, and buyers can easily find a four-bedroom house with land for less than 400,000 pounds, or about $562,000.

“We’ve seen the return of the second-home buyer, something that has been absent for the past five years, and also more buyers wanting top-end houses to use as holiday homes for a few years and then retire to,” Mr. Summerfield said.

Still, the replacement of stamp duty land tax with the Land Transaction Tax on Apr. 1 appears to be influencing the decisions of some prospective home buyers, Mr. Cheshire said. In effect, he said, on a 1 million pound property, the transfer tax payable has increased by 14,950 pounds, or about $21,000, to 61,200 pounds, or about $86,000.

“Buyers paying more than 500,000 pounds are liable for more tax, and it escalates as property prices increase,” he said. “At the top end of the market, buyers purchasing high-value properties are the worst affected.”


Wales doesn’t typically attract the wealthy foreign buyers seen in other parts of Britain, although there are some in Cardiff and the coastal areas, agents said. Mr. Cheshire said that the foreign buyers he deals with are mostly European — primarily Dutch and German.

In the past 18 months, Mr. Summerfield said, he has seen a growing number of American buyers in North Wales, particularly seeking properties on the coast, around Abersoch, Anglesey and Beaumaris, as well as homes with mountain and ocean views, on the edge of Snowdonia National Park. “The beautiful scenery, walking, coastal options offer a great variety to the foreign buyer, with good value for money,” he said.

Wales also continues to be popular with British buyers, agents said. “Wales does attract a huge number of home buyers from other parts of Britain, made up of people retiring, particularly to the coastal areas, which are also very popular with buyers of second homes,” Mr. Cheshire said.


The process for buying a home in Wales is basically the same as it is elsewhere in Britain, agents said.

Most buyers don’t hire a real estate agent to represent them, Mr. Cheshire said, although they usually hire a lawyer. Lawyers’ fees may range from 300 pounds, or about $421, for a small modern property to 0.5 percent of the sale price on a larger transaction, which could end up costing as much as 5,000 pounds, or more than $7,000, on a 1 million-pound home purchase, he said.

Buyers should budget about 5 percent of the sale price for the Land Transaction Tax, lawyers’ fees and other closing costs, he said.

Mortgages for foreign home buyers are not readily available, Mr. Cheshire said.


Official Welsh tourism portal:

North Wales tourism:

Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty:

Wales government site:


Welsh, English; pound sterling (1 pound = $1.40)


The annual council tax on this property is about 4,719 pounds, or $6,630.


Stephen Cheshire, Jackson-Stops, 011-44-1244-328-361;

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