Press Release: Homesteading Could Reduce Number of Empty Homes
Independent research, undertaken by researchers at the University of Sheffield, but in collaboration with the charity Empty Homes, looked at how the number of empty homes in England could be reduced through a scheme known as homesteading.
What is homesteading?
Homesteading, is a process where empty homes are sold at a discount to people who renovate them to create their own homes. The concept was popular in the 1970’s and the 1980’s but has fallen almost entirely out of use over the last 20 years.
Due to the shortage of housing stock in the UK, the charity Empty Homes, believes that the time is now right for a national homesteading program to be introduced so that the process can help unlock some apparently intractable empty homes problems.
In particular, homesteading could make a real difference in the North of England where local authorities continue to hold a significant number of empty properties as a result of the housing market renewal programme (see Editors’ Note 1). These houses would have been demolished but the demise of the programme meant that they were spared as local authorities no longer had the funds to demolish them. With little public money available to bring them back into use, homesteading could offer local authorities a positive and sensible way forward in dealing with these empty properties.
Does Homesteading work?
Yes. In 2012, the charity Empty Homes helped Stoke City Council develop a homesteading programme for two areas of the city where houses had previously been acquired for clearance. The ‘Houses for £1’ programme was launched in early 2013, allowing people to buy houses for £1 on condition they renovated them and lived in them as their sole home.
The programme made 35 houses available for sale, and proved incredibly popular with several thousand applications being received from prospective purchasers. (See Editors’ note 2).
Similar schemes inspired by the Stoke programme have subsequently been launched in both Liverpool and Oldham.
Read the Research by Dr Crookes & Dr Greenhalgh: DIY regeneration Homesteading
National Empty Homes Loans Fund Now Open
The National Empty Homes Loans Fund is now open for applications. It is a joint initiative between Us Empty Homes, Ecology Building Society, central government and 41 participating local authorities, the fund will provide loans of up to £15,000 to owners of empty properties to help bring them back into affordable use. The fund was one of the demands of last year’s Great British Property Scandal campaign led by our ambassador architect and broadcaster George Clarke.
Architect & TV Presenter George Clarke is also backing the National Empty Homes Loan Scheme, hear what he had to say to Nicky Campbell on Monday: Listen to George Clarke Radio 5
Commenting on the launch of the scheme, Empty Homes Ambassador George Clarke said:
“I care passionately about getting England’s empty homes back into use for people who need them. This scheme provides real help to property owners to help achieve that.”
For more information click on the links below
National Empty Homes Loans Fund Sparks Huge interest -press release