Lowest and highest value properties have the highest levels of empty homes

Research released by the campaigning charity Empty Homes to mark Empty Homes Week shows that both the highest and lowest value properties in England have the highest levels of long-term empty homes.


Numerically, by far the greatest number of long-term empty homes are recorded in lower value properties.

In council tax band A over 84,000 homes were recorded by local authorities as long-term empty, more than twice as many as in any other council tax band.

Empty Homes analysed government data for England on the number of long-term (over six months) empty homes by each of the eight council tax bands A to H.

While 0.86% of homes were recorded as long-term empty across England as a whole, the proportion of empty homes in the highest value council tax band (H) and lowest value band (A) were significantly higher at 1.51% and 1.49% respectively.

Excluding these two bands, 0.65% of homes were recorded as long-term empty across the other six intermediate council tax bands B to G.

Empty Homes director Helen Williams says: “Housing policy is failing people living in poor-standard housing in the midst of homes going to waste in both our most expensive and lower property priced neighbourhoods, but it need not be this way.

“We are urging the government to establish funding for neighbourhood improvement schemes in lower property price areas to support local authorities and community organisations to buy and refurbish empty properties and to tackle the underlying causes, such as poor housing in parts of the private rented sector.

“This could make a big difference to the people living there and provide attractive housing for people searching for a decent home at a price they can afford in the wider housing market.

“At the same time, there is enough evidence to suggest that government needs to explore additional measures to stop people buying and holding onto properties not to live in but to store and grow their wealth.

“Measures could include a reform of the council tax system to enable councils to charge a lot more where properties are left empty or hardly ever used, or regulation or planning reforms to ensure properties are built and occupied first and foremost to meet housing needs.”