UK Empty Property Numbers At All-Time Low
According to campaigning charity Empty Homes, there has been a dramatic fall in the number of empty residential properties in the UK.
The new research shows that the number of empty residential properties in the UK dropped by 75,000 during 2013, the largest-ever annual fall in numbers.
The substantial fall has reduced the total number of empty properties in the UK to 635,127, the lowest recorded level ever, according to campaigning charity Empty Homes.
The biggest falls in the number of empty properties were observed in the North West of England and London.
There was also a large fall in the number of long-term empty residential properties, with figures dropping by over 27,000 to a new record low of 232,600.The peak in the number of empty homes was seen in 1994, when around 868,000 residential properties were recorded as being empty, but thanks to well publicised campaigns in newspapers and TV by well known industry figures such as the architect George Clarke on Channel 4, has seen empty home figures falling over the past few years, as the issue was brought into the public arena.
In 2008 the number of empty homes stood at 768,000 but fell gradually to 710,00 in 2012.
The North West still has the highest number of empty homes at 130,081, accounting for 21% of all the empty homes in England, with the highest vacancy rates being in parts of Lancashire. Burnley, Hyndburn and Blackburn have more than 6% of empty housing stock.
Birmingham saw the biggest annual reduction in the number of empty properties where numbers of empty properties decreased by 2,889.
Other big drops include:
- Gateshead – down 1,064
- Leeds – down 1,454
- Lambeth – down 1,205
The vacancy rate in London has dropped below 2% for the first time, as the number of empty residential properties reduced by 13,144 to 59,313. However, the core problems remain.
- The number of long-term empty homes in London was virtually unchanged.
- 14 London boroughs, including Ealing, Camden and Hounslow, bucked the national trend and actually saw an increase in long-term empty properties.
David Ireland, chief executive of Empty Homes, said: “It’s fantastic to see such a large reduction in the number of empty homes across the UK. Successive governments have introduced measures to help, but with well over one-and-a-half million families currently on housing waiting lists there is still more to be done. The huge drop in empty homes we have seen this year is down to a number of factors. The improving housing market has made it more viable to renovate some derelict houses. The government’s empty homes grants programme is beginning to bear fruit, but the major factor is almost certainly the effect of changes to council tax charging. This has created strong incentives for owners to get their properties into use as soon as possible to avoid incurring extra council tax. There is no guarantee the trend will continue, local authorities and government will need to work hard to ensure the fantastic progress seen this year is maintained.”
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