housing stock

205,293 homes in England sit empty

The number of empty homes across England has risen for the first time in a decade to represent £50bn worth of vacant housing stock, according to new research.

Analysis of DCLG figures by online estate agent HouseSimple.com found that last year the number of long-term vacant homes increased by 5,148 (2.6%) to 205,293.

The biggest rise in the stock of long-term empty homes was found in York, with a 322% surge in 2017, followed by the City of London, up 229%.

Top 10 towns/cities in England with the largest increases of long-term vacant homes

In terms of the number of long-term vacant homes (excluding London), Birmingham recorded the most with 4,280, followed by Bradford with 3,931, but both were down on 2016.

Top 10 towns/cities in England for long-term vacant homes (excluding London)

Last year, London experienced its first rise in the number of long-term empty homes since 2009, with the total growing from 19,845 in 2016 to 20,237 in 2017, some £9.6bn worth of empty property.

Sam Mitchell, CEO at HouseSimple.com, said that having empty housing stock on this scale was a situation that needed to be addressed urgently.

"There are only so many times you can hear the latest housing minister declare we have a broken housing market and keep faith that they understand the scale of the problem.

“It would be good to see the government actually do something about all these empty homes for a change.”

Sam added that the situation had deteriorated, and not just in London, but across the country.

“Surely it is time to think of some innovative solutions, such as temporary capital gains tax relief for sales of empty, second or investment properties to help deal with this issue in the short term.”

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