Calls for action on the much-needed 1.5 million homes that stand empty

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Calls for action on the much-needed 1.5 million homes that stand empty

A total of 1.55 million residential homes worth £531 billion currently stand empty across England and Wales, according to recent research.

And the East of England is the region seeing the second highest rise in numbers of empty properties.

Analysis from property lender Together found there are over 240,000 abandoned detached homes – worth £123 billion.

There are also just under 260,000 empty semi-detached homes and nearly 680,000 flats and apartments standing empty across England and Wales.

The research also revealed that more than half of us are encountering derelict and unloved buildings every week.

And some 20 per cent say they are seeing or walking by them every single day.

The top three regions where the number of empty properties is rising is led by the South West of England at 20 per cent, the East of England at 16 per cent and East Midlands at 15 per cent.

And, while Wales has seen the volume decrease by 13 per cent in recent years; there are still more than 90,000 abandoned properties across the country.

These homes are registered as completely “abandoned” – with no usual or short-term residents in place or use as a second home.

And without any clarity on plans for sale, redevelopment or conversion.

Close to one in five empty homes (18 per cent) have been vacant for at least six months.

With the UK’s major housing crisis in mind and the fact 46 per cent of people feel the number of abandoned or derelict buildings in their local city is getting worse, many believe addressing the crisis of the UK’s abandoned and derelict homes should sit high up on the government’s Levelling Up agenda, second only to the cost of living.

And it’s not just empty residential properties people are seeing.

A significant 79 per cent of the UK is regularly seeing or walking past abandoned commercial and civic buildings too, according to the research.

Ministers are set to launch a package of housing reforms, including a focus on new planning rules to allow the transformation of commercial buildings into housing.

And Together’s research highlights the scale of the problem – as well as the growing calls to push the issue to the top of the political agenda ahead of this year’s general election.

Elliot Vure, corporate director at Together, said: “There’s a clear case for addressing and solving the UK’s abandoned and crumbling properties, as our research makes clear.

“Part of the solution could be turning old and disused buildings into much-needed homes – although this is by no means a magic bullet.

“However, it should be a matter of civic pride that we don’t have these towering eyesores as a feature of our towns and cities.

“Although many are way past their best, buildings such these can offer a huge amount of potential for investors and developers with a vision to restore them back to their former glory or repurpose them.

“There also needs to be greater incentives to encourage home-buyers and investors to make the most of more than 1.55 million empty homes across England and Wales.

“In both cases, we need a joined up and pragmatic approach from the property industry and government allowing us to reap the rewards of wider economic benefits, while preserving our architectural heritage and creating places for people to live.”