3 Dec

Govt 'must act over empty homes'

Govt 'must act over empty homes'

The government must take action to address the problem of empty homes across the UK, it has been claimed.

According to figures from Halifax, there are 288,763 unoccupied homes across the UK - accounting for 1.6 per cent of the country's housing stock.

The problem is especially prevalent in Manchester and Liverpool, where 5.7 per cent and five per cent of the cities' privately owned properties are out of use.

And, despite the fact that the numbers of these homes are falling in the long-term across the country, action is still needed in many areas, chief economist at Halifax Martin Ellis said.

"It is encouraging the number of empty homes in England has fallen by nearly 20,000 over the past three years, but it is also notable that the problem has become worse in many areas with the highest number of empty homes.

"Rising property prices encourage the rejuvenation of empty homes in many parts of England. However, it is clear that intervention is also necessary."

He added: "We would like the government to extend the five per cent rate of VAT for renovating an empty home to all properties vacant for more than six months, not just those properties that have been unoccupied for more than two years."

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