Empty Homes Statistics 2011/12
How Many Homes Are Empty? …
710,000 empty homes are currently empty in England according to the 2012 Empty Homes Stats!
The latest (November 2012) empty homes statistics show that of these, 259,000 are long- term empty (meaning they have been empty for more than six months). These are the headline figures, and a detailed regional breakdown is now available: Click here for Empty Homes Statistics for 2012
(click image for larger view)
What about the rest of the UK?
We estimate that there are 920,000 empty homes across the UK, 330,000 of which are long term empty. However Empty Homes statistics are collected at different times and are not officially published in Wales and Northern Ireland (although we have obtained the information ourselves) . Our estimate is simply a sum of the most recent official statistics from each part of the UK.
Where do you get this information from?
The data is obtained from council tax information. The data is supplied by owners of empty homes who report their properties as empty to their council. Councils usually offer exemptions from council tax for empty homes, which gives an incentive for owners to report thier property as empty.
How accurate is it?
We believe that the information is reasonably accurate at a national level, and is the most reliable information available. However there may be some misreporting at a local level. Councils normally check for council tax fraud.
It is important to note that some homes are not included in the statistics. These include:
- Uninhabitable homes: Homes in very poor condition can be excluded from council tax and so are not counted in these statistics. No data is available to quantify how many of these there are nationally. Recent research in Bradford showed that there were 5,000 uninhabitable homes in that city, this indicates that there are many thousands across the country.
- Homes due for demolition: Again these are exempt from council tax. In our view these should not be counted unless demolition is in doubt or has been cancelled. Currently 40,000 homes that were due for demolition under now cancelled regeneration schemes stand empty.
- Flats above shops. Many unused flats above shops have no residential planning use class even though they are clearly laid out as dwellings. These are charged under business rates and not council tax and so do not feature in empty homes statistics. A report carried out for the government in 2004 estimated that there were 300,000 flats in this state in England.
I’ve heard that there are million empty homes in the UK, is this true?
Probably, although our estimate based on official statistics show less (920,000) . If flats above shops, uninhabitable properties, and properties due for demolition are included it is likely the total would be much higher, but as no accurate statistics on these are published we do not include them.
From a housing supply point of view we think it is more important to concentrate on the long term empty homes. There are 259,000 in England, 330,000 in UK.
Why are these homes empty?
Most empty homes are privately owned. Our surveys show the majority of the owners own just one or two properties. Often they are rented homes that have fallen into disrepair; sometimes the owner has inherited the property. In many cases the owner lacks the funds or the skills to repair and manage the property.
There are also many empty houses and flats owned by and often located next to businesses. Many of these would originally have provided staff accommodation, but with changing employment patterns they are no longer used. In some areas cottages were tied to agricultural work, but increasing agricultural mechanisation means they are no longer needed. It is common in these cases for the business to lack the skills to make use of the empty homes.
In the last decade there have been many large regeneration schemes that have involved emptying homes in preparation for refurbishment or demolition. In the last three years falling house prices, restrictions on borrowing money and reduced government funding have caused many of these schemes to stall or even be abandoned. This has led to large areas of many social housing estates standing empty. In addition some regeneration schemes have taken the same approach to privately owned housing. Some of these have led to large numbers of homes standing empty. There are also many developments of new flats in towns and cities that have high vacancy rates. Some are owned by investors who may be waiting for rental prices to pick up, other flats were never sold, and others are incomplete, the development having been abandoned.