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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

‘National scandal’ as the number of empty homes across England rises 5%

Buy-to-let landlords are often blamed, primarily by those under the age of 40, for the existing housing crisis because property investors acquire homes that could have been sold to a first-time buyer, but the reality is that while millennials’ frustrations are understandable, the supply of properties for rent is a vital part of housing provision.

Rather than using landlords as a scapegoat for the housing crisis, it is time to recognise the vital role the private rented sector plays in housing people, while also acknowledging the fact that there are simply not enough properties in the right locations to meet demand from buyers or renters.

The failure to develop enough properties has taken the housing shortage to crisis point as demand continues to exceed supply, placing upward pressure on house prices and rental values.

The government says that it is committed to tackling the housing crisis, having already put measures in place to support growth in housebuilding, and yet there remains a chronic shortage of homes that many people desperately need.

While the volume of new homes registered edges closer to the government target of 250,000 new homes a year, it remains below the estimated 300,000 new homes a year that research shows is actually needed to meet existing demand.

But empty homes are an often overlooked housing resource going to waste, with more than 200,000 residential properties classed as long-term empty in England alone.

Fresh data from modular homes provider Project Etopia shows that the number of long term empty homes - those that have been empty for at least six months - across England has risen for the second year running, representing £53.6bn worth of vacant stock.

The number of long-term vacant properties rose 5.3% to 216,186 in 12 months to October 2018 according to the latest MHCLG figures, following a 2.6% rise the previous year.

Of all towns and cities in England, Portsmouth saw the biggest percentage rise in long-term empty homes last year, with 101.5% more properties standing empty, totalling 939.

Hartlepool saw the second biggest rise, while Eastbourne posted the third largest increase.

Birmingham had the highest overall number in the country with 4,283 long-term vacant homes, barely changed on the previous year and rising just 0.07%, followed by Durham with 4,130 and Bradford with 4,090.

Biggest Risers: These are the Top Ten towns/cities in England with the largest increases of long-term vacant homes:

Town/City

2017

2018

Change (%)

1

Portsmouth

466

939

101.5%

2

Hartlepool

472

726

53.8%

3

Eastbourne

349

518

48.4%

4

Woking

235

346

47.2%

5

York

359

527

46.8%

6

Harlow

225

322

43.1%

7

Bedford

431

613

42.2%

8

Maidstone

342

485

41.8%

9

St Albans

286

402

40.6%

10

Norwich

335

462

37.9%

NB. London has not been included in this table. See below for a London borough breakdown

The following table shows the ten towns/cities in England with the highest numbers of  long-term vacant homes (excluding London):

Town/City

2017

2018

Change (%)

1

Birmingham

4,280

4,283

0.07%

2

Durham

4,539

4,130

-9.0%

3

Bradford

3,931

4,090

4.0%

4

Liverpool

3,889

3,703

-4.8%

5

Leeds

2,709

2,788

2.9%

6

Sheffield

2,204

2,433

10.4%

7

Sunderland

1,779

1,893

6.4%

8

Stoke-on-Trent

1,518

1,865

22.9%

9

Newcastle upon Tyne

1,595

1,792

12.4%

10

Doncaster

1,628

1,683

3.4%

London has also seen a further increase in the number of long-term empty homes, its second increase since 2009.

The total number of long-term vacant properties in the capital grew 11.1% to 22,481 in 2018 — representing £10.7bn3 worth of property.

Southark has replaced Croydon in top spot, which has dropped down to 10th. City of London is second with 244 empty homes (a 54.4% rise) and Sutton is third with 686, a 46% rise.

Southark has seen the biggest rise of any borough in the top ten, with a surge of 56.6%.

The following table shows the Top Ten London boroughs for long-term vacant homes:

London Borough

2017

2018

Change (%)

1

Southwark

1,128

1,766

56.6%

2

City of London

158

244

54.4%

3

Sutton

470

686

46.0%

4

Richmond upon Thames

344

488

41.9%

5

Greenwich

600

830

38.3%

6

Wandsworth

132

173

31.1%

7

Havering

494

630

27.5%

8

Newham

709

894

26.1%

9

Lambeth

734

920

25.3%

10

Croydon

1,264

1,521

20.3%

Joseph Daniels, CEO of Project Etopia, said: “This remains a national scandal that isn’t going away, pointing to a collective failure to really get to grips with this problem.

“The stubbornly high number of empty homes is compounding the housing market’s deeply entrenched problems with lack of supply remaining a key driver of high prices and low affordability.

“New homes are not being built fast enough and the constant spectre of abandoned properties aggravates an already tough market, particularly for first-time buyers who desperately want to claim the keys to their first property.”

Poll: Do you think the government needs to introduce fresh tax measures to address the growing number of empty homes?

PLACE YOUR VOTE BELOW

  • icon

    No 10 Norwich, well I can tell you that a large number of these empty homes are owned by Norwich city council, many of which remain empty for 3 yrs +

  • phil dillon

    Given the locations of all the above I would hazard a guess that these are either slums or Council owned run down estates, any chance of that information ? Nah didnt think so, headline reporting !!

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