Tuesday 20 July 2021 11:33 am

£15bn worth of London homes sit empty, as Londoners squabble over supply

The value of London’s homes sat empty has racked up to £15bn, according to new data, as a rung on the property ladders edges further away from Londoners.

London has made a name for itself as a destination for ultra-wealthy buyers to snap up prime real estate as assets and holiday homes, while prospective homeowners squabble over a reduced supply.

“It is, of course, worrying to see that so many houses are sitting empty and unused across the country, especially as in 2020, more than a quarter of a million people in England alone were placed in temporary accommodation amidst the Covid-19 pandemic,” head of home insurance at Admiral, Noel Summerfield, said.

“Beyond that, this also impacts on the housing market as a lack of supply, can result in low affordability for people looking to get on the housing ladder. It’s a shame that such a high number of properties sit vacant when there’s an increasing demand for accommodation, at a time when there’s such a competitive housing market.”

Some 29,242 houses have been left unoccupied for at least six months in the capital, with Southwark being home to the highest number of long-term empty properties, according to data from insurance company Admiral’s Freedom of Information (FOI) request.

Camden and Hackney follow Southwark as the top three London boroughs with the most vacant homes.

The collective value of long-term empty houses in Southwark and Camden are worth north of £1bn each.

The City

The City of London has the highest proportion of empty houses in Britain, the FOI data found, with around 42 per 1,000 homes gathering dust.

The capital’s councils saw long-term vacancies skyrocket 82 per cent from 2019 to 2020, with the collision of Brexit and the pandemic likely nudging figures northward.

Southwark and Newham follow as the councils with the highest proportion of vacant homes.

But Brent saw the heftiest increase in empty houses in one gulp, witnessing a 206 per cent increase in homes left empty – followed by Hounslow and Wandsworth.

RankCouncilNo. of long-term vacanciesCollective value
1Southwark2,3581,247,617,800
2Camden1,4451,156,000,000
3Hackney1,392871,392,000
4Barnet1,378768,235,000
5Newham1,870748,000,000
6Haringey1,355702,906,250
7Lambeth1,136624,800,000
8Lewisham1,421611,030,000
9Croydon1,546602,940,000
10City of Westminster565553,700,000
11Tower Hamlets1,035526,038,750
12Brent1,029512,442,000
13Waltham Forest1,008468,720,000
14Islington649421,850,000
15Hounslow974415,898,000
16Enfield984408,360,000
17Harrow816391,680,000
18Bromley828376,740,000
19Hillingdon823353,890,000
20Sutton833336,115,500
21Merton685332,225,000
22Greenwich716315,040,000
23Richmond upon Thames444299,700,000
24Hammersmith & Fulham380290,700,000
25Redbridge657282,510,000
26Havering734275,250,000
27Kingston upon Thames477234,684,000
28City of London276215,832,000
29Ealing430206,400,000
30Bexley505186,850,000
31Wandsworth269178,885,000
32Barking & Dagenham224716,800,000
Total 29,24215,633,231,300
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