Christmas is a great time for winding down, shifting our attentions from meetings to mince pies and from emails to Edam (because who doesn’t love a cheese platter, right?) And as with everything in life, there are winners, losers and those who fall somewhere in-between.
So as we begin to wind down, let’s sit back, put our collective feet up and reflect on the ups and downs of the property market in 2015.
It was a good year for…
In February, it was revealed that housing prices in Wales were higher than pre-recession levels for the first time since January 2008  . Cardiff itself has seen an overall growth of 2.6% since coming out of the recession, meaning there’s much to be celebrated  . And just when sellers thought things couldn’t get any better, March heralded the fact that year-on-year house price growth stood at 6.7% in Cardiff. This increase was the first time prices of houses in some regional cities rose at a faster rate than those in central London for a decade (check us out!) This growth continued throughout the year and by November, housing prices in Wales had seen a rise for the 5 th consecutive month.  Crack open the fizz, vendors!
Homeowners in Cyncoed and Penylan
These areas stayed highly popular and homes retained their value owing to their central location. They fall within the catchment areas for many schools, and are also a stone’s throw away from useful shopping streets such as Wellfield and Albany road. Residents of Ty-Gwyn Avenue, Cyncoed can be particularly smug as they live in the most expensive street in Wales, with an average house setting you back a whopping £1,080,519- to be exact. 
It was mixed year for…
Private rental prices in the region saw a 0.5% increase from September 2014-2015  , a nice boost for those letting their properties. The autumn statement, however, brought a massive blow for investors, as the stamp-duty rose by three per-centage points across all bands. This means that the tax bill on a buy-to-let property costing £250,000 will jump from £2,500 to £8,800  . Ouch.
The Housing Wales Act, which was implemented on 24 November, was a massive change for landlords, and not necessarily a positive one. This act, controlled through the Rent Smart Wales programme, requires landlords to register with the council and apply for a license if they intend to rent private property. This cannot be done through an agent.
There also have been standards introduced from local authorities on rents, service charges and checks on the quality of accommodation for landlords to abide by.
This increased control over the private rental sector is bad news for landlords, as the new procedures are both time-consuming and costly. Those wanting to be a landlord are legally required to complete an approved training course, as well as the pay £33.50 for registering and £144 to be licensed. These changes could put off many from becoming buy-to-let investors and increase fees for those already letting properties who haven’t registered or obtained a licence.
For first time buyers, the past year hasn’t looked especially rosy, but attempts were made to level out the playing field. There was a lack of suitable properties for people wanting to get onto the property ladder, as prices on average throughout the UK for first time buying were more than 4% higher than last year  . The increase in stamp duty, however, was marketed as a way to ease the competition on the housing market, as landlords and second home-owners, who are often seen as having the upper hand in terms of buying, will be forced to pay higher taxes for properties than newbies onto the market as of April 2016.
Those moving within Wales
Cardiff, as a whole, remained the most expensive place to buy in Wales due its appeal of various amenities and strategic location. This made it a good year for those selling and moving elsewhere in Wales, but bad for those trying to move in from cheaper areas. The average house in Wales cost £145k as opposed to £229k in Cardiff. 
It was a bad year for…
Those wanting a three-bedroom, semi-detached house in Cardiff
Ok, quite a specific group of people here, but there was a lack of this property type in Cardiff, with houses always selling for full or over the asking price. So if you were one of those wanting a three-bedroom, semi-detached house in Cardiff, then we feel your pain.
So there we have it. The year was a bit of a mixed bag with some clear winners (those who will be cracking open the bolly) and a few losers too (those who will be contenting themselves with Smart price cava this Christmas). Residents of Cardiff, however, can be satisfied in knowing that the city is still a red-hot place to live and a real gem in the Welsh crown!
about The Housing Wales Act (branded as Rent Smart Wales) which was implemented on the 24th of November this year as this was (and will continue to be) a massive change for landlords.