Almost 20,000 empty homes were brought back into use in England over the last year, according to new figures from the Empty Homes Charity.
It has found that 19,069 long-term empty properties were brought back into use during the year to September, based on local authorities latest council tax information. There are now 259,842 long-term empty homes, seven per cent down on the same time last year. However, there are still more than 700,000 empty homes in England overall, a reduction of just 10,276 because other homes have become empty during the year.
Chief Executive David Ireland said: “The huge effort made by people this year to get empty homes back into occupation has created a major contribution to housing supply and averted what would otherwise have been a rise in vacancy.”
However, Mr. Ireland warned that there is still a large number of properties that are effectively being landbanked and are not available for people to bring back into use.
Landbanked empty properties include:
- 10,187 homes local authorities have made it illegal to live. This includes homes acquired for demolition and future development through compulsory purchase orders and those subject to closing orders;
- 9,444 homes that have been repossessed by mortgage lenders but have not been sold or let; and,
- 887 homes reserved for the clergy that are unoccupied.
Earlier this year, a survey of RLA members showed that 82 per cent would be interested in purchasing publicly-owned property if the the Government launched an initiative to sell off publicly-owned empty properties.