London house prices: Thousands of London homes are left vacant long-term

 
James Nickerson
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More than 22,000 homes have been left empty by their owners for more than six months (Source: Getty)

Despite a chronic housing shortage in the capital, tens of thousands of homes in London are left vacant on a long-term basis, according to new data.

More than 22,000 homes have been left empty by their owners for more than six months, despite soaring rents and property prices, data obtained under Freedom of Information by the Guardian shows.

The data also finds a large number of the homes have been left vacant for years, rather than months.

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Some 8,561 homes have been left uninhabited for over two years, according to the data, while 1,151 homes have been left vacant for over a decade.

The government has committed to building more homes as the issue of housing has become a national concern.

And Londoners last month said that housing was the biggest issue they wanted a future mayor to tackle.

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Given that homeowners are not obliged to report to the local council if their property is empty, and councils don't have to keep registers of empty homes, the figures could be even higher.

The data comes from 31 of 33 London authorities that responded to the FoI request sent in October 2015. Westminster council said it couldn't supply the dates the properties became vacant, while Bromley council did not respond.

The information comes after a slew of reports that indicate London housing is become unaffordable, and after a House of Lords' National Policy for the Built Environment committee, which said the UK won't hit the government's 240,000-a-year housebuilding target by relying on the private sector.

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