Highlights and key issues:
The general picture
1. 2018 saw confirmation that empty homes numbers are rising significantly.
The rise of 5.3%, nearly 11,000 additional long-term empty homes, was double the rise in 2017.
2. All regions experienced rising numbers of empties in 2018, except the North East which fell by 1%, although the highest regional occurrence of empty homes is still in the North East where one in every 72 homes is long-term empty.
3. Two-thirds of England’s local authorities saw numbers rise, in half of these the rise was over 10% and in more than one in ten authorities the rise was 30% or more. This has occurred in the context of introduction from April 2019 of new higher council tax premiums for two-year empties with higher punitive premiums for five and ten year empties to follow in 2020 and 2021.
4. The rise was weighted towards areas which previously had a lower number of long-term empties, notably London, the South East and Eastern regions. Over 70% of the authorities demonstrating rises of 30% or more are in these three regions. London up 11%, East of England up 11% and South East excluding London, up 9%.
5. The largest regional number of empty homes, around 40,000, is in the North West.