New figures reveal Bradford, Leeds, sheffield and Doncaster have almost 11,000 empty homes worth £1.7bn

by Jonny Stevens on 18th March 2019

Bradford, Leeds, Sheffield and Doncaster have almost 11,000 empty homes between them worth £1.7bn, according to the latest government data on long-term vacant properties, analysed by Housesimple.

They all feature in the Top 10 list of UK cities with the highest number of empty homes (excluding London and Greater Manchester) recorded in 2018.

The number of long-term vacant properties (empty longer than six months) across these four cities was 10,994 in 2018, up 5% on 2017, according to the latest figures from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG).

Bradford has one of the highest levels of empty housing in the UK with 4,090 properties. Long-term vacant properties in Sheffield were up 10.8% to 2,433 last year, from 2,204 a year earlier.

The number of long-term vacant properties in York has risen six-fold, up 520% between 2016 and 2018, from 86 to 527. This represents £134m of vacant stock. The number of empty homes in York has also increased by 46.8% in the 12 months to October 2018, which is the largest rise in vacant properties of any city/town in Yorkshire.

Looking at the largest towns and cities across Yorkshire, only Rotherham saw numbers fall in 2018, down 3.4% on 2017 figures. The number of empty homes rose 7.4%, 2.7%, and 0.9% across North, South and West Yorkshire respectively, in the 12 months to October 2018.

Across the UK, the number of long-term vacant properties was up 5.3% to 216,186 in the 12 months to October 2018. This represents £53.6bn worth of vacant stock.

Biggest risers: These are the major towns/cities in Yorkshire with the largest increases of long-term vacant homes:

Town/City

2017

2018

Change (%)

York

359

527

46.8%

Sheffield

2,204

2,433

10.4%

Kingston upon Hull

1,504

1,642

9.2%

Middlesbrough

944

1,016

7.6%

Harrogate

698

742

6.3%

Bradford

3,931

4,090

4.0%

Doncaster

1,628

1,683

3.4%

Leeds

2,709

2,788

2.9%

Huddersfield

2,113

2,144

1.5%

Rotherham

1,140

1,101

-3.4%

The following table shows the ten towns/cities in England with the highest numbers of long-term vacant homes:

Town/City

2017

2018

Change (%)

Birmingham

4,280

4,283

0.07%

Durham

4,539

4,130

-9.0%

Bradford

3,931

4,090

4.0%

Liverpool

3,889

3,703

-4.8%

Leeds

2,709

2,788

2.9%

Sheffield

2,204

2,433

10.4%

Sunderland

1,779

1,893

6.4%

Stoke-on-Trent

1,518

1,865

22.9%

Newcastle upon Tyne

1,595

1,792

12.4%

Doncaster

1,628

1,683

3.4%

London and Greater Manchester have not been included in this table.

Jayne Shelley, Yorkshire Director for Housesimple, comments: “In the same week that the Chancellor announced a £3bn guarantee to build more affordable homes, the government published figures showing that the number of empty homes has surpassed 200,000.

“There is a myriad of reasons why homes are left empty, ranging from tougher conditions for some buy-to-let portfolios, an ageing population with older residents moving to care homes and assisted accommodation, and in some cases probate which can take many months to resolve.

“Councils will welcome additional funding for new homes. But there’s an immediate need for housing, both social and private, and bringing even a small fraction of the empty property stock back to market is an important way to reduce pent-up demand from both council tenants and buyers looking for good quality, affordable housing.”

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