empty homes
© Andrew Harrison

The number of empty homes across England has risen for the second year running, representing £53.6bn worth of vacant stock, analysis by modular homes provider Project Etopia shows

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.

Prior to this, the number of long-term vacant properties had dropped every year since 2008. 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 (53.8% to 726), while Eastbourne posted the third largest increase (48.4% to 518). 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.

Across England, long-term vacant homes — those that have been empty for at least six months — are worth a collective £53.6bn.

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%

 

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 another rise 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 £10.7bn worth of property.

Southwark (1,766 vacant properties) has replaced Croydon (1,521) in top spot, which has dropped down to 10th. The city of London is second with 244 empty homes (a 54.4% rise) and Sutton is third with 686, a 46% rise.

Southwark 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.”

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