Over 200,000 homes, worth more than £43bn, lay empty in England over the last year, with Kensington and Chelsea in London seeing the highest number.
Data from a report by real estate investment firm Property Partner, utilising figures from the Department of Communities and Local Government, also shows that there were 19,845 empty properties for over six months in London alone during 2016.
Outside of the capital, Birmingham recorded the next highest number of unoccupied homes, with 4,397. These properties commanded an average estimated value of £956m.
The next three cities in terms of unoccupied properties were Bradford (3,944), Liverpool (3,449) and Manchester (1,365).
However, Kensington and Chelsea saw the number of empty homes rise by 8.5% year-on-year and by 22.7% in the last decade.
In England overall, the total number has barely changed year-on-year. This said, this is 36.4% down on figures seen in 2006.
With Kensington and Chelsea leading the way, Hammersmith and Fulham was the London borough with the next highest number of unoccupied homes (381). This was a rise of 42.7% in the year, followed by Croydon (1,216) and Camden (1,114).
The figures suggest that demand for rental properties is soaring, but landlords should still be sure to take out a reputable unoccupied property insurance
Dan Gandesha, Property Partner’s chief executive officer, said: ‘Councils have had the power to apply to seize empty homes since 2006 and huge advances have been made over the last 10 years. Dealing with this issue represents an opportunity to free up supply and help alleviate the scarcity of affordable housing nationally.’
‘We’d like to see the trend of the last decade continue, particularly where prices and demand are highest. That’s why it is a concern that in London 14 of 33 boroughs saw an increase in empty homes compared with the previous year. It would be encouraging to see that number reduce over the course of 2017. Tackling empty homes is one of the ways Britain can fix its broken housing market,’ he concluded.