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Number of empty homes topped 300,000 in 2008

Number of empty homes topped 300,000 in 2008

Category: Mortgages

Updated: 04/01/2010
First Published: 23/11/2009

This article was correct at the time of publication. It is now over 6 months old so the content may be out of date.
New figures have revealed that the number of properties that have been empty for six months or more crept above 300,000 for the first time since 2003 last year.

The latest Halifax Empty Homes Survey found the number of long-term empty private homes was 303,285 in April 2008 – a nine per cent rise from the 279,281 properties that had been empty for six months or more in April 2007.

Furthermore, figures show that 613,270 properties (including those that had been vacant for less than six months) were empty in April last year.

It is the highest number of empty homes the survey has recorded since April 2003, when 308,438 homes had been empty for six months or more in the UK.

"It is concerning that there are over 300,000 private homes in England that have been empty for more than six months and that the number has increased recently following several years of decline," said Suren Thiru, economist at Halifax.

"In many cases, high levels of long-term empty homes reflect relatively high levels of deprivation, low average earnings and high unemployment."

The survey found evidence of a clear north/south divide, with the North West region accounting for 22 per cent of all vacant homes. London, the South East and the South West have the lowest proportions of long-term empty private homes.

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