Empty homes ‘still an issue’

Published on: 04/12/2007

A new study from Halifax has revealed that the number of empty homes in England fell by 290,000 between 2003 and 2006, though some areas have seen numbers rise sharply.

Three per cent of the private housing stock in 15 local authority areas is now made up of empty homes, according to the lender’s new study, with the north of England particularly badly affected.

Manchester and Liverpool come near the bottom of the table, with empty homes accounting for 5.7 per cent and five per cent of local private housing respectively.

“Rising property prices encourage the rejuvenation of empty homes in many parts of England,” said Halifax chief economist Martin Ellis.

“However, it is clear that intervention is also necessary.

“We would like the government to extend the five per cent rate of VAT for renovating an empty home to all properties vacant for more than six months not just those properties that have been un-occupied for more than two years,” added Mr Ellis.

The report comes as a new housing project intending to encourage the homeless to refurbish and then move into empty homes is beginning in east Leeds following success in the south of the city.


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