Empty homes reach all time low
The number of empty homes is now at its lowest level since records began.
- reversal of downward trend in numbers of owner occupied households
- record drop in number of empty homes
New figures show that the number of empty homes is now at its lowest level since records began. This equates to a drop of over a third from 318,642 in 2004 to 203,596 in 2015.
Figures also show an increase in the number of owner-occupied homes in the past year, after 7 years of decline, starting in 2007.
The downward trend in ownership is continuing to level out after a fall from a peak of 69.5% in 2002 to 62.5% in 2015 and 62.8% in 2014.
And the government has got the country building again – with the number of new homes up by a quarter in the last year alone, the highest annual percentage increase in net additional homes for 28 years.
Housing and Planning Minister Brandon Lewis said:
We are turning around the housing market and making sure the best use is made of all housing including empty homes.
We are very clear that a house should be a home which is why we have taken action to stop homes being bought up and left as an empty investment.
And we’ve taking forward the boldest ambition for housing in a generation, doubling the budget so we can help a million more people into homeownership, while delivering a bigger, and better private rental sector.
The government has introduced a number of measures to get homes back into use, that have stood empty for years.
- rewarding councils for bringing empty homes back in to use through the New Homes Bonus – since April 2011, councils have been allocated over £4.846 billion for providing new homes
- providing over 704,000 additional homes, bringing over 106,000 empty homes will be back into use and providng 271,000 affordable homes
- giving councils the power to increase Council Tax on empty properties
- introducing charges on certain ownership to prevent residential property being held through companies left empty
- ensuring Capital Gains Tax is due on gains made by foreign owners who sell residential property here in the UK (much of which is left empty); this means the same rules apply to residents and non-residents
The government is determined to provide more homes to give hard-working families across the country the changes to realise their ambition of home ownership.
It has committed more than £20 billion over the next 5 years to help meet its ambition to provide 1 million new homes.
This is on top of Right to Buy being extended to 1.3 million people, shared ownership properties being made available to a much larger number of people and 200,000 Starter Homes being provided at a minimum 20% discount for first time buyers.
Since 2010 this government has provided 704,000 additional homes and 291,000 people have been helped into homeownership through government backed schemes.
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