The number of empty homes across England has risen for the third year running — and now accounts for £56.8bn worth of vacant stock, analysis by offsite eco housebuilder Project Etopia shows.
“Bringing these homes back into use is one of the easiest wins for policymakers who want to address the housing crisis and meet homes targets,” said Project Etopia CEO Joseph Daniels.
“The long-term trend is one that puzzles ordinary people who are facing huge financial pressures – many of them can’t get on the housing ladder at all and this problem only exacerbates the wider housing crisis,” he says.
MHCLG stats account for the number of long-term vacant properties rising by 4.5% to 225,845 in 12 months to October 2019, following a 5.3% rise in 2018 and a 2.6% in 2017.
Prior to this, the number of long-term vacant properties had dropped every year since 2008.
Of all towns and cities in England, Solihull saw the biggest percentage rise in long-term empty homes last year, with 67.7% more properties standing empty long term, totalling 265.
Newcastle under Lyme saw the second biggest rise (47.6% to 304), while Reading posted the third largest increase (47.5% to 571).
The top three ‘worst offenders’ with the highest overall number of long-term vacant homes in the country remained unchanged on last year.
Birmingham is first with 4,575 – a significant 6.8% rise on the previous year, followed by Durham with 4,209 and Bradford with 4,040.
London has also seen a rise in the number of long-term empty homes for the third year running.
The total number of long-term vacant properties in the capital grew 9.8% (up from 11.1% the previous year) to 24,677 in 2019 – representing £11.9bn worth of property.
Southwark remained the London authority with the most long-term vacant homes (1,469), while Croydon has climbed from 10th back up to second with 1,340.
Newham is third with 1,275 (up 43%).
The London figures have been pushed upwards overall due to big rises in some boroughs – Hounslow showed the biggest increase of 158%, followed by Harrow with 137%.
Across England, the analysis shows that long-term vacant homes – those empty for at least six months — are worth a collective £56.8bn.
The ten towns/cities in England with the largest increases of long-term vacant homes (excluding London)
The ten towns/cities in England with the highest numbers of long-term vacant homes (excluding London)
|Newcastle upon Tyne||1792||1762||-1.7%|
The London boroughs ranked by highest no. of long-term vacant homes
|Kensington and Chelsea||1115||1179||6%|
|Richmond upon Thames||488||489||0%|
|Kingston upon Thames||292||305||4%|
|Hammersmith and Fulham||278||296||6%|
|City of London||244||273||12%|
|Barking and Dagenham||106||206||94%|