We're used to hearing about how overpriced London houses have become – so research claiming that the capital is home to more than £12bn-worth of empty properties should be a wake up call.
Across England, more than 200,000 properties are vacant – equivalent to £38bn. But while Bradford has the biggest vacancy rate of anywhere in the country – more than 4,000 properties, equivalent to almost £400m – the lion's share of empty properties by value is focused on London.
In the capital, almost 21,000 homes have been empty for over six months. Newham has the most empty properties (1,318) of all 33 boroughs, with the total value standing at almost £470m.
In terms of value, it's Kensington and Chelsea that tops the league, with housing stock worth an estimated £1.7bn lying vacant for more than six months. This borough is one of three in which the number of vacant homes has actually increased in the last decade, from 1,224 to 1,289.
Haringey and Lewisham share in the dubious honour of having vacancies rise at a time when London is suffering from a housing crisis.
Harrow in the north west of London has just 97 dwellings which have been unoccupied for over six months, while the capital's smallest borough, the City of London, has just 44. Wandsworth has seen the biggest decline in the number of vacant properties – 93 per cent – from 513 to 202.
That still equates to £66.7m-worth of properties, however.
Dan Gandesha, chief executive of property crowdfunding platform Property Partner, said: “These figures reveal a shocking waste of opportunity. Over a decade ago, the law changed giving councils the power to seize empty homes through Compulsory Purchase Orders and rent them back out to tenants, if they lay vacant for more than two years.
“But we still find not enough being done in many parts of the country. This is nothing short of a scandal. To be fair, some towns and cities are getting to grips with the problem of long-term vacant properties. Yet if just half of the current empty homes could be brought to market, it would go a long way towards resolving the housing crisis, particularly in London.
“Despite the mountain of advice that the new London mayor has already received, I hope this is a priority for Sadiq Khan’s in-tray in City Hall.”