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London is hotspot for long-term empty homes - research

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London is hotspot for long-term empty homes - research

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Published by markthomasjones for 24dash.com in Local Government and also in Housing

London is hotspot for long-term empty homes - research London is hotspot for long-term empty homes - research

The number of homes that have been empty for more than six months is on the rise in over a third of English local authorities - and the biggest problem is in London, according to new figures published today.

The Empty Homes Agency warns that if this trend is not "nipped in the bud" it could threaten recent efforts by councils to turnaround the number of vacant properties.

Camden (+518), Kensington & Chelsea (+485) and Hounslow (+410) are the three local authorities with the highest increases in the number of long-term empties, with Harrow and Barnet also in the top 10.

The South West is also an area for concern with big rises in Cornwall (+410) and North Devon (+208).

Overall, the number of long-term empties has actually fallen to 232,600 out of a total of 635,127.

The charity's research also shows:

• There are rising numbers of empty homes in 116 local authority areas, including in some buoyant housing markets - parts of central London are seeing a higher proportion of homes lying empty for six or more months than the national average (1.02% of dwellings) with Kensington and Chelsea reporting 2.02%, Camden 1.47% and Westminster 1.43% of homes in their areas as long-term empty.
• The energy that some local authorities have put in to tackling empty homes can be seen in the levels of reduction they are reporting, but there is still a job to be done in many areas to reduce the number of long-term empty homes.

Helen Williams, chief executive of the Empty Homes Agency, said: "Great strides have been made in reducing the number of homes that remain empty, but in some areas the numbers are on the rise again and with around one and a half million households on council waiting lists we cannot afford to take our eye off tackling the national waste of empty homes.

“Some of the areas where the numbers are on the rise, such as parts of central London, have buoyant housing markets and speculative buying-to-leave may-well be a factor requiring some more imaginative responses.”

“The housing crisis looks set to be a key battle ground in next year’s general election and we hope that all political parties compete to come up with creative initiatives to tackle empty homes, otherwise we risk a slide back to the bad old days when we were reporting that long-term empty homes topped 300,000.”

  Local Authority Region

Long term empty properties

Oct 2012

Long term empty properties

Oct 2013

1. Camden London 964 1,482
2. Kensington & Chelsea London 1,215 1,700
3. Hounslow London 17 427
4. Cornwall UA South West 3,030 3,440
5. Enfield London 764 1,028
6. Harrow London 166 380
7. North Devon South West 487 695
8. St Helens North West 953 1,146
9. Barnet London 1,095 1,273
10. South Ribble North West 551 716
11. Stroud South West 573 733
12. Shropshire UA West Midlands 1,709 1,868
13. East Devon South West 511 663
14. Three Rivers East of England 121 269
15. Brent London 610 751
16. Blackpool UA North West 1,335 1,473
17. Amber Valley East Midlands 644 781
18. Colchester East of England 506 636
19. Stoke-on-Trent UA West Midlands 1,570 1,698
20. Rugby West Midlands 248 375

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