Large Numbers of UK Homes Lie Empty Despite Demand for Properties
Published by Magnate Assets on
Oct 5, 2023
New research has unveiled a concerning reality in England's housing landscape, with a staggering 676,000 vacant homes. The study, conducted by property purchasing firm House Buyer Bureau, sheds light on the prevalence of unoccupied dwellings across the country, raising questions about the efficient utilisation of resources, especially when the housing supply is so scarce.
Across England, approximately 2.7% of the nation's housing stock remains unused, which seems perplexing given the ongoing housing demand.
Regional Disparities: The North Takes the Lead
The North East is the region most affected by this housing vacancy crisis, with 3.3% of homes left unoccupied. The North West and Yorkshire and the Humber are closely behind, both experiencing a 3.0% vacancy rate.
Delving into specific cities, Liverpool has the most vacant rental properties. Out of 229,863 rental units, a staggering 10,769 lie vacant, constituting 4.7% of all available rental properties in the city.
Empty Homes Programme and Council Measures
England once had an Empty Homes Programme to incentivise social landlords and housing groups to bring vacant homes back into use. Additionally, individual councils can impose penalties on property owners who leave their homes vacant. The City of London, for instance, progressively increases council tax charges for long-term empty properties.
London's Mixed Scenario
Greater London showcases a comparatively better utilisation of its housing stock, with just 2.4% of total dwellings remaining vacant. However, Prime areas, including the City of London, exhibit a different trend, where a substantial 4.5% of homes are unoccupied, amounting to 351 properties out of 7,775.
Valuable Vacant Dwellings
Prime Kensington and Chelsea lead the way in regions with valuable vacant dwellings, with 3,196 unutilised dwellings estimated at £4.3 billion in worth. Camden, another London area, boasts 4,498 vacant dwellings with an estimated value of £3.73 billion.
Potential Solutions and Implications
Chris Hodgkinson, the Managing Director of the House Buyer Bureau, emphasises the need to address the issue of vacant properties. Suggested solutions include government investment in new empty home schemes and taxation measures for property owners who fail to utilise their homes effectively.
Hodgkinson also notes that factors such as the high cost of living, borrowing challenges, and a cooling property market may contribute to more vacant properties as landlords adjust their strategies.
The findings of this research underscore the importance of efficiently managing and utilising housing resources to meet the growing demand for homes in England. As the housing landscape continues to evolve, addressing the issue of vacant properties is crucial to ensuring housing availability and affordability for all.
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