Number of empty homes rises for first time in a decade

New research has revealed that the number of empty homes in the UK has increased for the first time in a decade.

According to HouseSimple, the most significant growth was seen in York, where the number of properties left vacant rose by 322% over a period of just 12 months.

At 229%, the City of London saw the second biggest increase, followed by Cambridge which saw an uplift of 156% over the year.

Since 2008, the number of long-term vacant properties had seen a gradual decrease from 326,954. However, Government figures reveal that the number began to grow last year, rising by 2.6% to 205,293.

Birmingham is home to the largest number of empty properties at 4,280, followed by Bradford at 3,931. It is worth noting, however, that these figures have fallen from last year, having dropped by 2.7% and 0.3% respectively.

Commenting on the figures was Sam Mitchell. The Chief Executive Officer from House Simple said: Having empty housing stock on this scale, in a country suffering a supply crisis with plenty of legal options open to councils, is a situation that needs to be addressed urgently.

‘There are only so many times you can hear the latest housing minister declare we have a broken housing market and keep faith that they understand the scale of the problem. It would be good to see the Government actually do something about all these empty homes for a change.

‘The situation has worsened, not just in London but across the country. Surely it is time to think of some innovative solutions such as temporary capital gains tax relief for sales of empty, second or investment properties to help deal with this issue in the short term.’

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