The UK now has 278,000 vacant homes many of which have been unoccupied for more than ten years, it has been revealed.
These longer-term empty properties are worth at least £2.2 billion, and this untapped supply of housing is at a seven-year high, says Admiral Insurance.
It has unearthed the information by using government statistics and Freedom of Information requests to local authorities.
Admiral’s figures also suggest that the government’s attempts to prevent people sitting on empty homes rather than renting them out or selling them is not working.
The law was changed recently to enable local authorities to charge an additional 50% council tax on properties that have been unoccupied for more than two years. This was increased in October last year to 100% following an announcement by Rishni Sunak, Parliamentary Under Secretary for Housing, Communities and Local Government.
Ten in every 1,000 homes or some 278,018 properties across England, Wales and Scotland are long-term empty, Admiral Insurance found. England has the highest number of long-term empty homes at 216,186 and Wales has the highest proportion at 20 in every 1,000 properties.
The region with the highest figure is Cornwall where 25 in every 1,000 homes have been sitting empty for more than ten years.
Unsurprisingly, the City of London is the urban area with the highest long-term empty rate at 38 homes in every 1,000; the square mile is a magnet for foreign property investors who often sit on properties rather than rent them out.