Number of empty homes in England rises for the first time in a decade

Britain’s housing crisis has been partly blamed on the lack of homes available to first-time buyers, but new figures show the number of empty properties in England is in fact on the rise.

According to government data, analysed by online estate agent HouseSimple, the number of empty homes has risen for the first time in a decade to 205,293, representing £50bn worth of vacant property stock across England.

There had been a gradual decline in the number of long-term vacant homes since 2008, when the figure stood at 326,954 as the financial crisis hit Britain’s homeowners, some of whom were forced out of their homes because they were unable to pay monthly mortgage payments.

But last year the number of empty homes rose again, by 2.6pc, according to figures published last month by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government. Estate agent Savills said that with around 23.7m homes in England in total, long-term vacants only represent 0.9pc of the total.

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