Over 650,000 homes empty in UK

Research by Halifax, using data from the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, shows that there were 689,675 empty homes in England during 2004/05, 3.2% of the total English dwelling stock.

Bringing these dwellings back into use is a pressing issue as 106,000 households in England are living in temporary accommodation or 0.5% of all households.

As a proportion of the local dwelling stock, the highest numbers of empty homes are in Burnley, 8.3%, Liverpool, 7.6%, and Tower Hamlets, 7.1%.

In total there are 23 English Local Authorities where at least 5% of homes are empty.

House prices in these areas tend to trade, on average, at a 22% discount to their region’s average house price and 31% below the English average.

On a regional basis the most empty houses are in the North West where they account for 127,473 properties or 4.2% of the total stock.

The North West is also the only region to see an increase in the number of empty homes in the past five years, albeit a small one of 0.8%.

Overall, there has been a fall of 75,000, 9.8%, in the number of empty homes in England over the past five years.

14 of the twenty LAs with the biggest proportion of residents in temporary accommodation have more empty homes than households living in temporary housing.

Of the 23 areas with a high number of empty homes, Tower Hamlets and Swindon have the highest proportion of households in temporary accommodation, 3.3% and 1.1% respectively.

The local authorities with the highest proportion of households in temporary accommodation are Newham, 5.5%, Haringey, 5.4%, and Brent, 3.7%, all in London.

Tim Crawford, group economist at Halifax, says: “While the number of empty homes in England has been trending lower over the past five years, a significant number of properties are still vacant.

It is in the interest of the whole community to eradicate the empty homes problem. Apart from the social benefits of bringing empty homes back into use, house prices tend to be lower in areas with a high number of empty homes.”