A recent study has uncovered some shocking figures relating to the total value of unoccupied housing in the Midlands. The research, completed by insurance expert Endsleigh looked at the average number and value of unoccupied homes in England over a six year period. Included in this study were unoccupied homes that were habitable, whilst those that were derelict or due for demolition were excluded. It revealed that there are currently a whopping 693,920 unoccupied homes across England, which equates to billions of pounds tied up in these properties. These alarming statistics show that the current value of unoccupied homes is equal to 35% of Greece’s national debt.
Perhaps the most shocking statistic that has been brought to light, is the fact that there are currently 13 unoccupied homes for every one family living in temporary accommodation. Houses can remain unoccupied for various reasons, and currently water damage and burst pipes cover 33.2% of reasons for a property remaining unoccupied. Although the greatest number of unoccupied homes is located northern England, more value is tied up in unoccupied homes in the South.
In the Midlands, the value of properties which remain unoccupied is almost 20 billion pounds. A total of 145,891 homes remain unoccupied in this region alone; of this figure, 70,016 are based in the East Midlands and 75,875 are based in the West Midlands.
In response to the housing predicament in the UK, the government are investing 91 million pounds into renovating and restoring 6,000 properties. They aim to invest a large proportion of this into the North and the Midlands due to the severity of the problems in these regions. Worryingly, it appears that this will not improve the current unoccupied housing issue; moreover it seems that we will have even more available housing in England.
It is clear that the UK is facing a housing crisis, but it appears that the issue is not being tackled head-on. The economic downturn has led to various problems, one of which is that salary levels are not being raised in line with house prices. This is inducing more people to rent houses rather than buy them, and we’re left with an abundance of empty perfectly habitable homes. It’s vital that the government act on this issue now, to ensure that it doesn’t extend further and tie up even more of the economy in empty housing.