One sentence summary – The housing crisis in England is worsening, with a significant number of properties remaining vacant for extended periods, leading experts to suggest repurposing these properties to meet the demand for affordable homes, as the record number of households in temporary accommodation and on social housing waiting lists highlights the urgency for practical solutions, with charities and experts calling for action from the government.
At a glance
- The housing crisis in England is escalating, with a significant number of properties remaining vacant for extended periods.
- Housing experts suggest repurposing these properties to meet the increasing demand for affordable homes.
- Approximately 250,000 properties in England have been unoccupied and unfurnished for at least six months.
- The number of long-term empty properties has risen by 24% over the past six years, with a 73% increase in London alone.
- The homelessness crisis is impacting 242,000 households in England, and charities estimate that repurposing empty properties could provide up to 40,000 additional homes to combat homelessness by 2028.
The housing crisis in England is escalating, with a significant number of properties remaining vacant for extended periods.
Housing experts suggest that these properties could be repurposed to meet the increasing demand for affordable homes.
The record number of households in temporary accommodation and on social housing waiting lists underscores the urgency of finding practical solutions.
This article explores the alarming statistics, the calls for action from charities and experts, and the government’s response.
Approximately 250,000 properties in England have been unoccupied and unfurnished for at least six months, indicating a long-term empty status.
Over the past six years, the number of such properties has risen by 24%, with a staggering 73% increase in London alone.
The east of England, south-east, and the West Midlands have seen a one-third increase in empty properties.
The north-east region has the highest proportion of long-term empty properties compared to its total dwelling stock.
Calls for Action
The homelessness crisis is impacting 242,000 households in England, underscoring the urgent need for accessible housing options.
Rising living costs, soaring rents, destitution, and a shortage of housing are identified as the main causes.
Charities report distressing accounts of vulnerable individuals living in poor housing conditions.
Crisis, a homelessness charity, estimates that if local authorities could repurpose more empty properties, up to 40,000 additional homes could be used to combat homelessness by 2028.
Calls are being made for the government to empower councils to convert empty properties into affordable homes and invest in housing benefit and social housing construction.
The government claims to have reduced the number of long-term empty homes by over 50,000 since 2010, although critics argue that more needs to be done.
Councils have the power to bring empty properties back into use, increase council tax on long-term empty properties, and use compulsory purchase orders and empty dwelling management orders.
The Action on Empty Homes charity suggests that the reported figures only cover known empty properties, indicating a likelihood of more unaccounted properties.
The charity advocates for a new national Empty Homes Programme that devolves funding to local councils.
Housing Affordability Crisis
Residential rents in England have experienced the fastest annual rate of increase on record, exacerbating the housing affordability crisis.
The combination of rising rent prices and limited availability intensifies the challenges faced by those seeking affordable housing options.
Addressing the housing crisis in England requires a comprehensive approach, including repurposing empty properties, investing in social housing, and combating rising rents.
The government must collaborate with local councils and charities to alleviate the homelessness crisis and ensure the availability of affordable housing for all.
Failure to act swiftly risks perpetuating the challenges faced by vulnerable individuals and families, compromising the overall well-being and stability of communities.
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A row of empty houses with closed doors and boarded-up windows, emphasizing the housing crisis in England.
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|– Almost a quarter of a million properties in England have been left empty for months
|The number of long-term empty properties has increased by 24% over the past six years
– Housing experts suggest that tens of thousands of these properties could be repurposed as affordable homes
– There is a record number of households trapped in temporary accommodation and social housing waiting lists exceed 1.2 million
– Properties are considered long-term empty if they have been unoccupied and unfurnished for at least six months
|The number of empty properties dropped slightly during the pandemic but remained high at 248,000 at the end of last year
– The number of long-term empty properties has increased in every English region over the past six years, with a 73% rise in London
– The east of England, south-east, and the West Midlands have seen a one-third increase in empty properties
– The north-east has the highest proportion of long-term empty properties compared to its total dwelling stock
– Residential rents in England have increased at the fastest annual rate on record
– Crisis estimates that if local authorities could repurpose more empty properties, up to 40,000 additional homes could be used to tackle homelessness by 2028
– 242,000 households in England are experiencing homelessness issues
– Rising living costs, soaring rents, destitution, and a housing shortage are blamed for the homelessness crisis
– Charities report regular horror stories from vulnerable people in poor housing conditions
– Calls are being made for the government to enable councils to turn empty properties into affordable homes and invest in housing benefit and social housing construction
– The Action on Empty Homes charity suggests that the figures only cover known empty properties and there are likely more
– The charity calls for a new national Empty Homes Programme with funding devolved to local councils
– The government claims to have reduced the number of long-term empty homes by over 50,000 since 2010
– Councils have powers to bring empty properties back into use, increase council tax on long-term empty properties, and take over empty homes through compulsory purchase orders and empty dwelling management orders
|– The Bank of England has decided to keep interest rates on hold, ending a period of aggressive rate increases.|
|– There are signs of a recession due to previous rate increases and inflationary pressures.|
|The Bank is expected to keep rates elevated to bring inflation back to the government’s target of 2%.|
|– Many mortgage holders have yet to refinance to higher rates, which could impact consumer spending.|
|– Business investment is likely to be affected by ongoing cost pressures, higher borrowing costs, and fading consumer demand.
– Rishi Sunak’s decision to change the government’s net zero commitments has angered business leaders and added to instability.
|– Brexit and stalled offshore wind projects are also hindering businesses.|
|– Forecasters do not expect a deep or prolonged recession, but without a rapid turnaround in business investment, growth will remain limited.|
|– Business investment is crucial for raising the long-term growth rate of the economy.
– Investment has held up better than expected this year, partly due to tax breaks, but the government has not made these policies permanent.
|– British business has historically underinvested compared to other nations.|
|– Brexit and high interest rates are creating headwinds for business investment.|
|The US, EU, and China are investing billions of dollars in infrastructure and green technologies to support business investment.|
|– Political and economic stability is necessary for companies to make investment plans.
|The current conditions in the UK, including high interest rates, recession risks, and government instability, are jeopardizing business investment.|
|– The cost of building HS2 is considered to be “totally out of control” by the Chancellor.|
|– Speculation suggests that the controversial high-speed rail scheme could be cut back.
|The eastern Birmingham-Leeds leg of HS2 has already been affected by cost pressures.|
|– Rumours suggest that the Birmingham-Manchester branch of HS2 may be axed.
|The development of HS2’s “London Gateway” at Euston has been halted.
|There are concerns that the main terminus of HS2 could end up in Acton instead of the city centre.|
|– HS2 has generated strong emotions and has both supporters and opponents.
|The case for HS2 is falling apart as costs increase and technology changes commuting habits.
– Ministers must decide whether to write off the £20bn-£30bn already spent on HS2 or commit another £50bn-£70bn to complete the project.
|– Consumer inflation fell to 6.7% in August, down from 6.8% the previous month.|
|– Core inflation, excluding food and energy costs, also decreased from 6.9% to 6.2%.
|The producer price index, measuring firms’ input costs, remained negative.|
|– The Bank of England decided to keep borrowing costs on hold after 14 successive rises.
|The monetary policy committee was split in a five-four vote.
– GDP shrank 0.5% in July, raising concerns about a UK recession.
|The Purchasing Managers’ Index survey showed economic contraction in September.
|The composite PMI measure fell to 46.8, while the services sector PMI registered its weakest result since the 2008 financial crisis.
– Public sector net borrowing reached £11.6bn in August, £3.5bn more than the same month in 2022.
– Borrowing since April has been £69.6bn, almost 40% higher than the same period last year.
|The national debt is now equivalent to 98.8% of annual GDP.
|The Chancellor believes tax cuts are “virtually impossible” due to the fiscal squeeze.
|There is speculation that HS2 may undergo further changes due to its high cost.
|The original price tag of HS2 has increased from £30bn to over £100bn.|
|– Many experts criticize HS2 as overpriced and offering poor value for taxpayers’ money.
– Some argue that the entire HS2 project should be scrapped.
– Building more frequent and faster routes in the North could be a more cost-effective way to improve connectivity.
|There are several “quick fix” projects that could improve connectivity in the Midlands and North.
– Electrification of train routes in the North could lead to more frequency and less overcrowding.
– HS2 is seen as delivering few benefits and is happening due to lobbying power and metropolitan bias.
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