Coventry is home to more than 1,000 empty properties, according to shock new figures.
And what’s more, the empty homes are worth more than £97 million.
Figures, obtained via the freedom of information act by Admiral , show the extent of the empty homes crisis across England, Scotland, and Wales.
Of the 278,018 long-term vacant homes in Great Britain, 1,336 of these have been revealed to be in Coventry.
This equates to 9.5 empty homes for every 1,000 houses.
Of these homes, 70 have been empty for over a decade.
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Many of the properties have been empty from between two to four years – 406 in total.
Over 100 have been empty from between five to nine years.
Using the median house price in each area, it is estimated that the total value of homes which lay empty stands at £97,695,000 – nearly £100 million.
This is all the major building work in Coventry city centre right now
Nuneaton and the West Midlands
Nuneaton and Bedworth have fewer empty homes than Coventry, with 723, but the situation is proportionally worse.
In 1,000 homes in Nuneaton, 12.8 are empty, compared to the 9.5 in Coventry.
But in the West Midlands, Stoke-on-Trent has the highest proportion of empty homes, with 16.2 for every 1,000.
Unsurprisingly, Birmingham has the highest number of empty homes by far with 4,283 – though it is by far the biggest city in the region.
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What has Coventry City Council said?
Responding to the figures, a spokesperson for Coventry City Council said: “We regularly monitor empty homes in the city particularly those that have been empty for two years or more. Homes that have been empty for less than two years are ordinarily either being actively marketed for sale, subject to probate or are undergoing renovation; in the ordinary course of events these homes will come back into circulation.
“Homes can be empty for longer periods of time and the reasons for being empty are often legitimate. Again the reasons mentioned above still follow, but also some properties are the subject of legal disputes between family members and the sale of the properties are subject to specific court dates, some occupants are also in residential care. In a number of cases, people choose to leave their properties empty and that is their right subject to the payment of council tax.
“We concentrate our resource on those empty properties which are the ‘seat’ of environmental and anti-social behaviour problems. Where necessary we use our legal powers to ensure that the property owner takes responsibility for these dwellings”.
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What have the experts said?
Noel Summerfield, Head of Home Insurance at Admiral said: “After seeing reports that the number of empty homes in England had increased in recent years, we decided to look at where housing stocks were being mostly underused by analysing and ranking the proportion of long-term vacancies across councils in England, Scotland and Wales.
“After compiling freedom of information requests that we sent to councils around the UK, and analysing the most recent government figures, we found that despite England having the highest total of long-term vacant homes, it is in fact Wales that has the highest proportion, with 20 in every 1,000 homes sitting empty for six months or longer. Similarly, Scotland has the second highest proportion across Great Britain*.
“On a regional level, we found that Cornwall has the highest proportion of longer-term vacancies in England, with 25.8 in 1,000 homes vacant for over 10-years. Overall, in London, where housing is at a real premium, the City of London has the highest proportion of vacancies of any borough, followed by Southwark, and Kensington and Chelsea.”