EX-COUNCIL tenants have sold their homes for an average profit of about £30,000 in Wrexham and Flintshire over the last two decades, according to data.

A study by the BBC Shared Data Unit has examined sales of ex-'Right to Buy' (RtB) homes across the UK from the year 2000 to April 2018.

RtB, which offers large discounts to council tenants who buy their home, has been one of the most divisive housing policies of the past 40 years.

The Housing Act came into force on October 3, 1980 including giving the Right to Buy to more than five million eligible council tenants in the UK.

Then-Prime Minister, the late Baroness Thatcher, said it would pave the way for a “property-owning democracy”.

Since its inception, more than 2.6 million former council tenants in Great Britain have bought homes under the policy, according to research by The Chartered Institute of Housing.

In Wales, there were some 3,355 sales between February 2002 and March 2018.

The total profit made on those ex-RtB homes sales in Wales was £61m or £51m in real terms.

The average amount of money a vendor made between purchase and sale was £19 per day.

According to the figures, the data unit was able to obtain the RtB sale price and subsequent sale price for 44 Flintshire homes.

On average, after buying their homes those Flintshire residents kept them for just over eight-and-a-half years before selling them for a profit of just under £30,000.

This equates to an average profit of £16 a day.

In Wrexham the figures show there were 115 comparable properties.

Residents who obtained their homes via RtB in Wrexham kept them for just under seven-and-a-half years before selling them on for a profit of just over £30,000 - a daily profit of £18.

Paul Dossett, head of local government at financial services firm Grant Thornton UK LLP, said: “The right-to-buy scheme has been a disaster for the UK taxpayer.

"Not only have they ended up getting less value for taxpayer-funded assets, the subsequent shortage of social housing has resulted in a hike in rent prices which, when the tenant is a recipient of housing benefit, is also funded by the taxpayer.

“Councils have been forced to buy back homes at a significantly-inflated price to try and meet demand - a financial disaster for councils who are already struggling to remain financially sustainable.

“When you consider the amount of people currently struggling to get on the housing ladder, the stretched finances of many councils due to increasing demand across numerous services and the rising cost of homelessness, we need to ensure that housing schemes are effective and beneficial for both councils and their communities."

Across the UK, the devolved governments have adopted differing approaches in recent years.

In England, the policy has been extended for housing association tenants to buy their homes at a discount in a few pilot areas, fulfilling a pledge in the 2015 Conservative party manifesto.

It was brought to an end in Scotland in 2016 and a final cut-off date for applications to buy under the policy across Wales expired on January 26.

A consultation on the future of House Sales Schemes, the equivalent of RtB in Northern Ireland, was launched in 2018.

Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, the housing and anti-homelessness charity, said: “While Right-to-Buy has helped some people to get on the property ladder who wouldn’t otherwise have been able to, it’s stored up serious trouble for the future because we’re still building far fewer homes than we’re selling off.

“The chronic shortage of social housing available is nothing short of a disaster given our current housing emergency."

Minister of State for Housing (in England and Wales) Kit Malthouse MP said: “Under Right to Buy, the government has helped nearly two million people achieve their dream of home ownership and we are working hard to make sure that everyone in the country who wants it has a shot at getting on the housing ladder.

“Tenants who use Right to Buy must repay some of their discount back to their council if they sell the property within the first five years, and must offer their local authority the opportunity to buy it back.”