COVID-19: VIEWING & VALUATION Guidelines

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 No One Home 

At a time when demand for new housing is so high, it’s sad to think that any house would sit empty when it could be being turned into a home for someone. Unfortunately, however, that’s the case for thousands of properties across the country.

The latest figures show that there are over 640,000 vacant dwellings in England, which account for 2.65% of all houses. But where in the country are the most houses sitting empty?

The UK’s Empty Home Hotspots

Rank Local Authority Region Total Dwellings Vacant Dwellings % of Vacant Dwellings
1 Blackpool North West 70,187 3,842 5.47%
2 Burnley North West 41,080 2,089 5.09%
3 City of London London 6,506 311 4.78%
4 Barrow-in-Furness North West 33,516 1,575 4.70%
5 Hartlepool North East 44,250 2,078 4.70%
6 Liverpool North West 228,968 10,704 4.67%
7 Southwark London 136,178 6,303 4.63%
8 Hyndburn North West 36,891 1,660 4.50%
9 Blackburn with Darwen North West 61,287 2,717 4.43%
10 Fylde North West 39,820 1,751 4.40%

Looking at the areas with the highest % of empty homes (compared to the total number of homes in the area), we see that the majority are found in the North West, with Blackpool having a higher rate of empty properties than anywhere else.

The UK’s Occupied Home Hotspots

Over 3,800 properties lie empty in the seaside town, which works out as 5.47% of overall dwellings.

Interestingly, half of the ten areas with the most vacant properties were found by the coast (Blackpool, Barrow-in-Furness, Hartlepool, Liverpool, and Fylde).

Rank Local Authority Region Total Dwellings Vacant Dwellings % of Vacant Dwellings
1 Corby East Midlands 29,842 135 0.45%
2 Wandsworth London 148,075 804 0.54%
3 Hammersmith and Fulham London 89,186 659 0.74%
4 Westminster London 125,312 988 0.79%
5 Daventry East Midlands 36,284 392 1.08%
6 Barking and Dagenham London 75,829 921 1.21%
7 Solihull West Midlands 92,415 1,199 1.30%
8 Lambeth London 141,507 1,849 1.31%
9 Herefordshire West Midlands 85,995 1,136 1.32%
10 Brent London 120,448 1,662 1.38%

At the other end of the scale, in some authorities there were as little as 1% of properties lying empty.

The place with the fewest empty houses was Corby in Northamptonshire, with other areas in the Midlands, such as Daventry, Solihull, and Herefordshire, in the top ten.

However, many of the areas with the lowest rate of empty houses were found in London, such as Wandsworth, Hammersmith & Fulham, and Westminster.

The UK Locations Where Empty Homes Are On The Rise

Rank Local Authority Region 2018 Vacant Dwellings 2019 Vacant Dwellings % Change
1 Hounslow London 757 1,984 162%
2 Tower Hamlets London 1,832 3,308 81%
3 Harrow London 1,123 1,956 74%
4 Newham London 1,893 3,273 73%
5 Isles of Scilly South West 28 42 50%
6 Brent London 1,126 1,662 48%
7 West Berkshire South East 802 1,164 45%
8 Spelthorne South East 811 1,111 37%
9 Oxford South East 880 1,194 36%
10 Kirklees Yorkshire & the Humber 5,698 7,293 28%

We also looked at the areas in which the number of empty houses has increased the most in the last twelve months.

Four of the local authorities which had seen the biggest increase in vacant properties were found in London, with the numbers in Hounslow increasing by more than double, from 757 to 1,984.

The UK Locations Where Empty Homes Are Declining

Rank Local Authority Region 2018 Vacant Dwellings 2019 Vacant Dwellings % Change
1 Ealing London 4,198 2,595 -38%
2 Tonbridge and Malling South East 1,317 966 -27%
3 Chichester South East 1,193 955 -20%
4 Wyre North West 946 774 -18%
5 Calderdale Yorkshire & the Humber 3,746 3,143 -16%
6 Craven Yorkshire & the Humber 900 761 -15%
7 Charnwood East Midlands 1,546 1,311 -15%
8 Cambridge East 1,601 1,365 -15%
9 West Lancashire North West 1,431 1,227 -14%
10 Haringey London 2,619 2,268 -13%

However, there were also lots of areas where the number of empty houses has actually dropped in the last year.

The biggest example was Ealing in London, where the number of vacant properties dropped from 4,198 to 2,595, an improvement of 38%.

Methodology

All data sourced from the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government’s live tables on dwelling stock (including vacants), specifically Table 100 for the total number of dwellings and Table 615 for the number of vacant dwellings.

Note that a small number of local authorities which have seen their boundaries change in recent years have been omitted, as this didn’t allow for a fair comparison across the two datasets.

Unfortunately, in Scotland, data on vacant stock hasn’t been collected in a consistent manner since 1998 due to a number of local authorities transferring all of their stock to housing associations between 2003 and 2007, meaning the data is not comparable with England. Data for Wales and Northern Ireland was not available.

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