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 Cllr 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.
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.
Cllr Evans said this information could persuade people 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 Canfod Cartref Homefinder.
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 Cllr Evans.