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Number of empty homes in West Norfolk up by 17%, according to latest statistics




The number of long-term empty homes in West Norfolk has increased by almost 20 per cent, according to the latest Government statistics.

This reflects the national picture, with the number of long-term empty homes – those that have been empty for at least six months – across England having risen for the third year running.

In West Norfolk, the number of vacant homes has increased from 825 in 2018 to 966 in 2019 – a rise of 17.1 per cent.

King's Lynn aerial shot.Joshua Paul Gardner/HexCam (32716876)
King's Lynn aerial shot.Joshua Paul Gardner/HexCam (32716876)

The statistics show that the last time there was more than 1,000 long-term empty homes in West Norfolk was 2012, when 1,181 properties were vacant – after which figures decreased until 2014 when there were 699 empty homes in the borough.

Since then, the number of long-term vacant properties has been growing again – despite a slight drop of three per cent in 2018.

Meanwhile in Breckland, the number of empty homes has risen by 14.8 per cent from 419 in 2018 to 481 in 2019, and in North Norfolk, the figure has gone from 482 in 2018 to 572 in 2019 – an increase of 18.7 per cent.

Housing experts say policymakers could have an “easy win” by bringing these homes back into use to address the housing crisis and meet homes targets.

In England, the number of long-term vacant properties rose by 4.5 per cent to 225,846 in the 12 months to October 2019, according to the latest figures from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, following a 5.3 per cent rise in 2018 and a 2.6 per cent climb in 2017.

Prior to this, the number of long-term vacant properties had dropped every year since 2008.

Analysis by offsite eco housebuilder Project Etopia shows that this year’s figure in England of 225,845 empty homes accounts for £56.8 billion worth of vacant stock.

Project Etopia was founded in 2015 and produces modular homes and school buildings that can be built in under four weeks. Its designs incorporate pre-installed energy-efficient technology.

Joseph Daniels, CEO of Project Etopia, said: “Bringing these homes back into use is one of the easiest wins for policymakers who want to address the housing crisis and meet homes targets.

“The long-term trend is one that puzzles ordinary people who are facing huge financial pressures.

“Many of them can’t get on the housing ladder at all and this problem only exacerbates the wider housing crisis.”



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