City of London is the worst offender for empty properties

Sebastian McCarthy
Foreign Ownership Leaves Luxury Apartment Tower Empty
One of the City of London banks which residents occupy as guardians in exchange for reduced rents

There are more than 10,000 commercial properties sitting empty in central London, with new figures revealing that the City has more unused space than any of its neighbours in the capital.

According to a series of Freedom of Information requests by property guardian company Live-in Guardians, there are as many as 10,681 empty commercial properties in London, although the real number is expected to be far higher as many local authorities did not provide data.

The City of London was the biggest offender for empty buildings in zones one to three, with 3,409 vacant properties, followed some way behind by Hammersmith & Fulham with 1,288 empty properties.

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In five years the number of properties not being used in the financial district has risen more than 12 per cent, from 3,042 to 3,490.

Arthur Duke, a former commercial lawyer who founded Live-in Guardians which aims to let people rent empty commercial space at a reduced rent, said: "It’s like The Titanic not filling all its lifeboats – thousands of buildings that can create affordable means of living are lying empty."

Duke told City A.M.: "The Square Mile in London is denser than other boroughs and there are more commercial properties so it is no surprise there are more empty buildings from our research."

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The number of empty properties has grown over the last five years, with two buildings now becoming vacant every week in London's zones one to three.

Earlier this year similar problems in London's property market were brought to light when figures showed that more than half of the 1,900 ultra-luxury apartments built in the capital last year failed to sell, raising concerns of "posh ghost towers" across the city.

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