New research by HomeProtect on unoccupied homes has revealed that an astonishing £10.7 billion’s worth of properties are sitting empty in London. The total number of long-term unoccupied (6 months or more) properties in the capital rose by 2.8% between 2013 and 2018 to a total of 22,481, which accounts for 0.63% of all properties in the city.
The most vacant dwellings in London are located in Southwark and Croydon
- There are 1,766 unoccupied properties in Southwark, while Croydon comes in a close second with 1,521 vacant dwellings
- Barking and Dagenham has the lowest number of unoccupied properties in London, with just 106 sitting empty
- The City of London and Croydon have seen the largest increase in the number of unoccupied properties between 2013 and 2018, both rising by 81%
- Westminster has seen the largest decrease in the number of unoccupied properties, dropping by 394%
The highest volumes of unoccupied properties in London are situated in the boroughs of Southwark and Croydon, while Barking and Dagenham boasts the lowest number of empty dwellings. Nearly 1 in 10 of all homes in Southwark are sitting empty (1,766 properties).
While there has been an increase of unoccupied properties across London as a whole over the five-year period between 2013-2018, these changes fluctuate between boroughs. The City of London and Croydon both experienced the greatest increase in empty homes, with a positive difference of 81% in each. Westminster, on the other hand, saw a dramatic decrease of 394% less vacant dwellings.
Property expert, Emily Evans, explains that the rise of AirBnB has played a large role in the growing number of empty properties in the capital:
“The Government have made it difficult to be a landlord, so it isn’t that much of a lucrative market. Landlords are now selling up or choosing to adopt the ‘AirBnB’ holiday home model, over a traditional residential let. Southwark especially has a lot of part-time homes and AirBnBs. However, further south in Southwark is classed as more of an ‘up and coming’ area, meaning a lot of properties will be being bought and renovated.”
There are £1.5 billion’s worth of empty homes in Kensington and Chelsea alone
- There are 1,115 empty homes in Kensington and Chelsea, which have a combined value of nearly £1.5 billion
- The empty homes in Camden have a combined value of £1.1 billion, with 1,210 unoccupied properties in the borough
- Southwark has approximately £877 million’s worth of empty properties, based on an average house price of £496,612 in the borough
The collective worth of all unoccupied properties across London is a huge £10.7 billion. £1.5 billion’s worth of this total is situated in Kensington and Chelsea alone, based on an average house price of £1,295,861 in the borough, and a further £1.1 billion in Camden, based on an average house price of £917,594.
With a high average property value in these areas, Evans explains that this could be accountable to what the authority calls ‘buy-to-leave’:
“Multi-millionaires will buy these properties purely just for it to be held as an investment. Driving around boroughs like Kensington at night gives me great sadness. So many of the houses’ lights aren’t on – streets and streets of houses are dark! Not only is this terrible that so many properties are empty, but people living in those areas have a real lack of community. Something that I feel is so important to us as people.”