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Empty homes rise 81pc while Tower Hamlets has Britain’s worst waiting list

PUBLISHED: 07:00 13 October 2020 | UPDATED: 09:52 13 October 2020

3,300 dwellings fell empty in 2019 compared to just 1,800 the year before. Picture: Pemberton

3,300 dwellings fell empty in 2019 compared to just 1,800 the year before. Picture: Pemberton

Pemberton

The number of properties left vacant in the East End rose by a shocking 81 per cent on the eve of the national Covid emergency compared to 12 months earlier.

East End jam-packed wirth housing... but how many homes stay empty? Picture: LBTHEast End jam-packed wirth housing... but how many homes stay empty? Picture: LBTH

The second highest rise in numbers of empty dwellings in the whole UK in any local authority area was in Tower Hamlets, statistics from Ministry of Housing reveal.

More than 3,300 dwellings fell empty in 2019 compared to just 1,800 the year before, according to a survey by Coulters property agency.

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Neighbouring Newham had the fourth highest increase, a rise of 73pc from almost 1,900 in 2018 to just under 3,270 a year later.

Hard-hatted mayor views new Stepney housing scheme to cut Tower Hamlets waiting list in January 2020... while other homes stay empty, according to Whitehall data. Picture: LBTHHard-hatted mayor views new Stepney housing scheme to cut Tower Hamlets waiting list in January 2020... while other homes stay empty, according to Whitehall data. Picture: LBTH

“It’s sad to think any house would sit empty when demand is so high,” a spokesman for Colters said. “These properties could be turned into a homes. There are thousands across the country.”

Worst for increasing ratio of properties falling empty was Hounslow in west London which outpaced Tower Hamlets exactly double with a rise of 162pc in 12 months.

Harrow had the third-highest rise, while areas not doing as bad as Newham in fourth place but still in the top 10 were the Isles of Scilly, Brent in north-west London, West Berkshire, Spelthorn in Surrey, then Oxford and at No 10 Kirklees in Yorkshire.

Tower Hamlets is reputed to have the country’s longest waiting list with 19,000 applicants, while having 3,300 homes in lockdown sitting empty.


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