Housing Specification Blog

Nobody home?

August 3, 2012 Alexandra Blakeman Housing Issues

Over one million homes are currently empty in England. This is puzzling given the country’s problem with overcrowding and housing supply. Needless to say, renovating abandoned housing takes time, consideration and funding.

Empty town houses. Click on image for original source.

What is being done about empty housing?

The charity Empty Homes are running a long term campaign to raise awareness about the severity of the problem. They offer practical help and advice, so communities can create more housing by bringing empty properties back into use.

According to the charity, there are 4 million families on waiting lists around the country, and the number is always growing. The average cost of renovating an abandoned home is around £10,000 – significantly cheaper than building from scratch. Research carried out by the charity’s ‘New Tricks with Old Bricks’ initiative showed that the renovation of an empty house creates about a third of the CO₂ emissions generated by new builds.

The National Empty Homes fund will be launched later this year. The fund will offer low interest loans to those in possession of empty housing who wish to bring them back into use.

The resurrection of empty properties is hoped to provide more affordable housing in the areas that require it most. Empty housing isn’t just a drain on revenue, it also attracts petty crimes, such as vandalism and fly tipping. Abandoned property also has a negative impact on an area’s economical survival – with fewer residents, shops and local facilities experience a drop in sales and custom.

Do you live in an area with lots of empty homes? We’d really appreciate your comments on how this affects your neighbourhood and the local community. If you have knowledge or experience of renovating empty property – please contribute to the discussion below.

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