Over 200,000 homes lie empty in England, new research shows

Over 200,000 homes lie empty in England, new research shows

Article in PropertyWire  26 May Weekly 2016 (reproduced with permission of PropertyWire Weekly)

There are 203,596 long term empty homes in England valued at £38 billion, but the amount varies depending on location, new research has found.

London has the most number of homes empty for six months or more at 21,000 worth almost £12.4 billion while Bradford has more empty homes than any other town or city outside London, with over 4,000 sitting empty, totalling nearly £400 million.

One of the most deprived boroughs, Newham, has the worst problem in London with 1,318 unoccupied properties, according to the research from property crowd funding platform Property Partner .

But there has been an 84% drop in long-term vacant homes in Manchester over a decade, according to the research which used figures from the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG).

The analysis looked at long-term vacant dwellings in England between 2005 and 2015, and then estimated the total value of this vacant real estate for towns and cities as well as London.

Overall, in the past decade, the number of long-term vacant homes in England has been reducing. In 2005, there were 313,616 but by 2015 that had dropped by around a third to 203,596.

Manchester has seen the number of empty homes plummet by more than 84%, from 10,059 long-term vacant dwellings in 2005 to 1,599 a decade later while in Bradford there has been a rise of 7% in the past decade to a total of 4,154 empty homes.

On a regional basis West Yorkshire, which includes Bradford, Calderdale, Kirklees, Leeds and Wakefield, has the highest number of long term empty properties at 12,292, an estimated £1.4 billion worth of potential homes that could be occupied.

Newham has the most empty properties at 1,318 in all 33 boroughs in London with the total value standing at almost £470 million. Meanwhile, Kensington and Chelsea’s long term vacant housing stock is valued at a £1.7 billion while Harrow in the north west of London has just 97 dwellings which have been unoccupied for over six months and unsurprisingly, the smallest borough the City of London has just 44.

Only three boroughs, Kensington and Chelsea, Haringey and Lewisham, have seen increases in the number of vacant dwellings over the decade while Wandsworth has seen a fall of more than 90% from 3,044 in 2005 to just 263 in 2015.

‘These figures reveal a shocking waste of opportunity. Over a decade ago, the law changed giving councils the power to seize empty homes through Compulsory Purchase Orders and rent them back out to tenants, if they lay vacant for more than two years,’ said Dan Gandesha, Property Partner chief executive officer.

‘But we still find not enough being done in many parts of the country. This is nothing short of a scandal. To be fair, some towns and cities are getting to grips with the problem of long-term vacant properties,’ he pointed out.

Yet if just half of the current empty homes could be brought to market, it would go a long way towards resolving the housing crisis, particularly in London. Despite the mountain of advice that the new London Mayor has already received, I hope this is a priority for Sadiq Khan’s in-tray in City Hall,’ he added.



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