The 'quick buck' mentality
I HAVE just finished going round the streets of my Swansea neighbourhood, counting the number of properties to rent and for sale.
The numbers are 157 and 36 respectively.
Those to rent will almost all continue to remain empty, since the students who would take them are already fixed up for the coming academic year.
Those for sale are unlikely to sell in the near future because of the mortgage squeeze and because the area is now predominantly seen as student-land.
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Quite simply too many 'get-rich-quick' landlords have bought too many properties which they cannot now let. The market is oversupplied.
Serves the landlords right, we may say. But in the process the whole area has been blighted — with highly negative effects for the non-student residents living there. Their properties have been devalued and there is little chance that this will be remedied by families coming along and buying surplus properties, especially as most of these have been converted to suit student occupation.
In addition, if the university's second campus beyond the docks comes to fruition, this will only mean an even bigger surplus of student lets and further decay for the area.
Whose fault is it? We can hardly blame the students who are just looking for decent accommodation. We can hardly blame those residents who have sold their homes as they saw which way the wind was blowing.
What we can blame is the 'quick buck' mentality that our society of institutionalised selfishness encourages which makes people see houses as commodities to make money from rather than places to live in.
We can also question the actions of successive local councils and Wales Government officers in handing out Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO) licences willy-nilly to quick buck 'developers' without proper consideration of the consequences to communities and the people who live in them. In Brynmill — and other areas of the city — we now see those consequences.