Where are the England’s 640,000 empty homes located?

Between the Stamp Duty holiday market rush, and rising property prices, the challenge of affordable housing stock has once again reared its head. And, while efforts such as Boris Johnson’s loosening of planning permission regulations have attempted to increase the supply of residential property, there is one area of potential stock that remains under-utilised: empty homes.

According to research conducted by estate agents, Coulters, some 640,000 dwellings are vacant across England, with Blackpool taking the top spot, with almost 4,000 out of 70,000 – or more than one in twenty – empty in the city.

RankLocal AuthorityRegionTotal DwellingsVacant Dwellings% of Vacant Dwellings
1BlackpoolNorth West70,1873,8425.47%
2BurnleyNorth West41,0802,0895.09%
3City of LondonLondon6,5063114.78%
4Barrow-in-FurnessNorth West33,5161,5754.70%
5HartlepoolNorth East44,2502,0784.70%
6LiverpoolNorth West228,96810,7044.67%
8HyndburnNorth West36,8911,6604.50%
9Blackburn with DarwenNorth West61,2872,7174.43%
10FyldeNorth West39,8201,7514.40%

Overall, the majority of empty properties sit in the North West of England, with some notable features from highly desirable – and expensive – districts in London.

In contrast, and unsurprisingly, many of the authorities with the highest occupancy levels are also in London, with six of the ten local authorities with the fewest empty homes located within the capital.

RankLocal AuthorityRegionTotal DwellingsVacant Dwellings% of Vacant Dwellings
1CorbyEast Midlands29,8421350.45%
3Hammersmith and FulhamLondon89,1866590.74%
5DaventryEast Midlands36,2843921.08%
6Barking and DagenhamLondon75,8299211.21%
7SolihullWest Midlands92,4151,1991.30%
9HerefordshireWest Midlands85,9951,1361.32%

Among the five most inhabited districts, only one in a hundred properties are empty, while in the top two areas – Corby in Northamptonshire, and Wandsworth in London – this falls to one home in two hundred.

Also worth noting are the drastic year-on-year shifts in property occupation, with five local authorities seeing their number of empty homes rise by at least fifty percent in one year, between 2018 and 2019.

RankLocal AuthorityRegion2018 Vacant Dwellings2019 Vacant Dwellings% Change
2Tower HamletsLondon1,8323,30881%
5Isles of ScillySouth West284250%
7West BerkshireSouth East8021,16445%
8SpelthorneSouth East8111,11137%
9OxfordSouth East8801,19436%
10KirkleesYorkshire & the Humber5,6987,29328%

Taking the top spot, by a considerable margin, was Hounslow, which saw its number of empty homes rise by 162% year-on-year. However, it was not hardly the only London authority to see the number of empty homes rise, with six of the ten top ten districts coming from inside of London.

RankLocal AuthorityRegion2018 Vacant Dwellings2019 Vacant Dwellings% Change
2Tonbridge and MallingSouth East1,317966-27%
3ChichesterSouth East1,193955-20%
4WyreNorth West946774-18%
5CalderdaleYorkshire & the Humber3,7463,143-16%
6CravenYorkshire & the Humber900761-15%
7CharnwoodEast Midlands1,5461,311-15%
9West LancashireNorth West1,4311,227-14%

On the other hand, it’s worth noting that the greatest reduction in empty homes was also seen in a London authority, Ealing, with the district seeing a year-on-year reduction in vacancies more than ten percent greater than any other authority in England.

Interestingly, authorities in London, the South East, and Yorkshire and the Humber make up a large portion of the top increases and decreases in property vacancies. This might perhaps be less indicative of their desirability, and more an indicator of the level of activity in these areas, with new properties being built, sold, and tenants moving around on a regular basis.