One Million Empty Homes Lie Vacant
The one million empty homes are uninhabitable properties, properties waiting on demolition, council properties that have been boarded up after re-housing the tenants, housing association properties that are boarded up, flats above shops that are unoccupied and private properties that have been left vacant by their owners. The value of these empty properties ranges from around twenty thousand pounds in Newcastle or Sheffield to million pound properties found in London.
Housing Associations and Local Councils across the UK have thousands of empty homes and properties in their property portfolios. Many of these properties were acquired to rebuild new housing estates and new link roads. Their reason for having so many empty homes is they believe it is due to the lack of demand and an uncertain property market.
If the truth is known these empty homes remain unoccupied due to lack of money available to the government and local councils. The austerity plans were implemented by this government to control budgets and spending which were brought about by this continuing recession and the costs of the bailing out the banks.
‘Britain is experiencing a housing crisis!’
The Home Builders Federation on the other hand has suggest that ‘Britain is experiencing a housing crisis’ and if the number of new houses being built remains at current levels then there will be a shortage of more than 50,000 homes a year and by 2026 the cumulative effect will result in a shortfall of more than one million homes. They report that last year 160,000 new homes were built in England when they had projected around 223,000 new homes were needed.
The Government has set a target for the number of new homes that can be built each year at 240,000 by 2016 and then increasing to 3 million homes by 2020. This is contary to the belief that planning authorities are not allocating enough land to meet these housing needs. To compound the government’s targets and the lack of land to build on there is the added shortage of new home buyers in the housing market.
The mortgage lending criteria for all homeowners and first-time-buyers is now more stringent than ever. First time borrowers are now faced with having to find a 20% deposit and meet tighter lending requirements. In order for homeowners to obtain a cheaper mortgage rate they need to have 25% to 30% equity in their property.
What To Do With Empty Homes That Lie Unoccupied?
Easy! In order for the housing market to move we need the first-time-buyers buying their first homes. The one million empty homes provide us with the solution. If the councils and housing associations sold their stock of decent empty homes to first-time-buyers at the market rate based on their condition and the banks could be encouraged to offer the first-time-buyers a second mortgage or a mortgage advance to modernise the property. I believe we would have a real solution to most of the empty homes issues discussed earlier.
First-time buyers would find it easier to obtain a mortgage, a deposit and buy an affordable home. The Councils and Housing Associations would get clear their stock of empty homes and the money received from the sale of the empty homes would give them an added boost to their funds to renovate their older and deteriorating stock of empty homes. This new and improved housing stock would help to relieve the waiting lists at the councils and housing associations.
The government would see their targets for new homes being achieved. The house builder should be allowed to purchase some of the empty homes. The builders could take on the empty homes that required more extensive redesign and modernisation which they could sell on as affordable housing.
Solution to The Empty Homes Controversy
Yesterday’s controversy over the outrage of empty homes would become desirable affordable housing for the first-time-buyers. Within a few years the first-time-buyers would aspire to move up the property market and this would get the housing market moving again. Let’s use our empty homes like any other resource and not waste it’s potential. If you have any thought about a solution to the outrage over our empty homes then leave your comments below.