Westminster has seen the number of vacant but owned homes jump by 48 per cent over the past year – the equivalent of nearly 2,500 homes – as property demand in London outpaces supply.
London is the only region of England which has seen the number of vacant homes rise over the past year, according to estate agent comparison site GetAgent, with some of the wealthiest boroughs leaving good homes empty.
Alongside Westminster, Camden’s vacant homes increased by 4,770 properties and Kensington and Chelsea saw an increase of more than 3,000 homes lying dormant in the 12-month period.
Vacant properties have locked away almost £46bn worth of prime real estate, with London riddled with homeowners living outside of the city, awaiting more favourable price growth before selling their property.
“The pandemic spurred an exodus of homeowners who headed for greener climbs and coastal locations. Some of whom won’t have sold their London property before doing so with an eye on returning to London further down the line,” CEO and co-founder of GetAgent, Colby Short, told City A.M.
“The London market has also seen a far more subdued level of house price growth during the pandemic. So, while many vacant homeowners across the UK will have scrambled to off load these properties while prices sit at record highs, those in London won’t have been acting with the same enthusiasm as they wait for the value of their empty homes to bounce.”
London-headquartered estate agency Chesterton’s yesterday warned that unsatisfied demand is putting further pressure on the capital’s housing market, with agency analysis revealing a nearly 60 per cent spike in buyer enquiries as properties available falls 14 per cent.
Managing director of Chestertons, Richard Davies, said that a post-lockdown uplift in the number of enquiries from international students, international buyers as well as office workers who require a “pied-à-terre closer to work” are also pushing the pedal on demand – with the most interest landing on Tower Bridge, Islington, Hampstead and an increasingly vacant but bought up Westminster.