Data collected by the ministry of housing, communities, & local government shows that the number of long-term vacant properties across England rose 5.3 per cent in the 12 months to October 2018.
The number of vacant properties recorded at last count was 216,186 – representing £53.6bn worth of stock, according to the report.
Portsmouth saw the largest percentage rise in long-term empty homes in 2018, at 101.5 per cent. This was followed by Southwark, at 56.6 per cent.
Meanwhile, London at 22,481 had the highest number of empty properties in the country, followed by Birmingham, at 4,283.
The report outlines ‘long-term vacant homes’ as properties which have been empty for at least six months.
Project Etopia chief executive Joseph Daniels comments: “This remains a national scandal that is not 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.”
The residential landlords association policy manager John Stewart says: “The scandal of empty homes at a time when so many are finding it difficult to access accommodation is just one reason why pro-growth tax is needed.
“The government should support good landlords to do what they have always been good at – investing in property and bringing it back into long term use.”