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Empty home numbers ‘reach record lows’

The empty home numbers across England has fallen to an all-time low, new figures from charity Empty Homes have revealed.

According to the organisation’s data, 75,000 properties were brought back into full-time use last year, bringing down the total number of empty homes across the country to 635,127.

The number of long-term redundant properties was also reduced by 27,000 to a record low of 232,600.

It is an extremely encouraging development for the housing market, as between 2008 and 2012 the number of unoccupied properties fell by just 58,000.

Moreover, this is a positive result for the nation as a whole, as the ongoing shortage of homes has resulted in a housing crisis in many areas over recent years, but with more properties being brought back into use this is a pressure that might now be beginning to ease.

Chief executive of Empty Home David Ireland commented: “The huge drop in empty homes we have seen this year is down to a number of factors: The improving housing market has made it more viable to renovate some derelict houses.

“The government’s empty homes grants programme is beginning to bear fruit, but the major factor is almost certainly the effect of changes to council tax charging.”

He concluded this has created strong incentives for owners to get their properties into use, in order to avoid incurring additional council tax.

The largest reductions in empty properties were seen in London and Wales, while the highest vacancy rates continue to be seen in Lancashire – particularly Burnley, Hyndburn and Blackburn, with each conurbation having in excess of six per cent of its homes without occupants.

Individuals planning to leave their property unattended for an extended period should consider the prudence over taking out unoccupied homeowners insurance from GSI Insurance Services (Southern) Limited. Our cover can give peace of mind that in the event of an emergency or break-in, property owners will not be left out of pocket.

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