Housing crisis? £12billion-worth of homes lie empty across North West, according to report

By Michael Taylor

More than £12billion-worth of homes lie empty across the North West, according to new figures produced by Endsleigh Insurance.

Despite Britain being gripped by a ‘housing crisis’, England has 600,000 unoccupied homes with a staggering combined value of £115billion – a figure which equates to 8% of Britain’s debt.

The North West alone has 115,443 unoccupied homes.

David Hadden, Endsleigh Business Team, said: “We see properties left unoccupied on a regular basis, commonly when a house sale is going through, or renovation work is being carried out.”

Yet while the North of England has 25,000 more unoccupied homes than the South, despite the gap in numbers, their value is £30billion less.

The North, including the North West, Yorkshire and Humber and the North East have more than 255,000 empty homes. Meanwhile, London, the South West and the South East have less than 230,000.

The data was averaged over six years and suggests that there are 13 houses for each family in temporary accommodation.

The figure is thought to have decreased since 2005 – when it is estimated 700,000 homes lay empty across England.

Properties can remain vacant for longer where an owner is spending an extended period overseas for work, or where probate is pending after a death, Mr Hadden explained.

“In any of these circumstances, it is important that homeowners take steps to protect the value of the property while it is unoccupied,” he said.

“Fire, flood, vandalism or plumbing and central heating leaks can have serious, sometimes catastrophic, effects.”

More than 33% of unoccupied property claims come from burst pipes or water damage.

Mr Hadden said: “Homeowners should ensure that their insurance is still valid and, if your property will be vacant for longer, you may need a specialist policy in place.”

Picture courtesy of Alex Pepperhill, with thanks.

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