Greater London revealed to have the highest volume of abandoned properties in the UK

The region is home to almost 290,000 abandoned and derelict properties, according to a new study by Together.

Related topics:  Housing,  Stock Levels,  Abandoned Property
Property | Reporter
21st March 2024
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"There should be a long-term strategy to encourage homebuyers and rental investors to bring back to life the hundreds of thousands of empty homes across the UK’s regions."
- Elliot Vure - Together

Recent analysis from specialist lender Together has found that, as of 2023, Greater London is the region with the highest volume of abandoned and derelict homes, with nearly 290,000 standing completely empty.

In total, these empty properties are worth over £180bn and making them available to first-time buyers and home movers could play a major part in easing the UK’s growing housing crisis.

The study also identifies the scale of crumbling civic and commercial buildings across the UK – the ‘Hidden Gems’ which could be given a new lease of life as housing - following Government proposals in recent weeks to cut red tape.

Housing Secretary Michael Gove has pledged that developers will be able to convert shops, offices, and other commercial buildings into homes without full planning permission, with the changes resulting in tens of thousands of homes being built every year in England’s 20 largest regional cities.

A national survey by Together found 77% of respondents who have abandoned or derelict buildings in their local city agreed that redeveloping these sites would revitalise the local community and create more jobs with 67% feeling the spaces are a waste of valuable land and development potential.

43% of UK adults admitted they witness an abandoned commercial or civic building at least weekly - 17% every day. Meanwhile, 21% admitted walking past or seeing an abandoned residential building at least weekly - 8% do this daily.

TV property expert, Lucy Alexander is driving awareness of Together’s Hidden Gems campaign. Revealing the scale of the UK’s abandoned and derelict buildings across the regions; Lucy has partnered up with the specialist finance company to uncover the opportunities for home buyers, property investors, landlords and developers.

Lucy said: “During my time with Homes under the Hammer, very often the homes we were filming for the show would be derelict and left untouched and unloved for years. I’ve always enjoyed the thrill of seeing these abandoned properties taken on by those who aren’t shy of a challenge and want to transform a unique property into a home.

“So many people just don’t think these types of buildings are accessible which is why Together’s Hidden Gems campaign is so important – shining a light on the vast opportunities across the country and how to secure the financing needed to complete these amazing projects!”

The top three regions where the volume of empty properties is rising the highest since 2021 is led by the South West of England at 20%, the East of England at 16% and the East Midlands at 15%.

Looking at property type, the London Boroughs combined have the most detached homes with 9,199 worth £11.5bn. At the Local Authority level, however, Cornwall is the detached vacant home capital with 9,180 detached houses with a value of £4.2bn.

For semi-detached homes it’s Birmingham with 4,721 empty properties worth £1.2bn while County Durham has the highest volume of terraced homes at 7,472 worth £757m. Westminster holds the highest volume of empty flats and apartments at 33,102, worth £27bn.

Elliot Vure, corporate director at Together, added: “Fixing the UK housing crisis has been a long-standing and thorny problem for successive Governments. What is needed is a more joined-up approach. There should be a long-term strategy to encourage homebuyers and rental investors to bring back to life the hundreds of thousands of empty homes across the UK’s regions.

"And, while we welcome moves to relax planning restrictions to enable more commercial-to-residential developments, there needs to be greater access to funding for what can often be complex projects.

“There is no one-size-fits-all solution. However, through our Hidden Gems we hope to open doors to potential homebuyers, investors, and developers to make sure they have access to finance, support through Government policies and incentives to achieve their ambitions.”

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