Can there be a worse indicator of how badly our housing policy has gone wrong than homelessness and housing vacancy peaking in lockstep?

New Government data shows long-term empty homes numbers rising in EVERY region.

The official measure of long-term empty homes is just the tip of a million-plus emptiness iceberg...

BUT even this limited data source now shows empties over 30% higher than when the last National Empty Homes Programme ended.


  • Long-term empties rose yet again in 2023 by 12,556 (or 5%) to 261,189
  • Total number of homes out of residential use over a million
  • Numbers rose in EVERY REGION (this only previously occurred during the pandemic)
  • Up 16% on pre-pandemic numbers
  • Rise of over 30% since the end of the last Government Programme to address the issue
  • Second homes not in residential use also rose to over 263,000

Regional headlines:

Regionally the biggest rise was in the housing crisis hit South West where long-term empties rose 9% to 24,000 - with nearly 3,000 in Cornwall alone

  • Somerset saw the biggest rise in numbers of over 500 to 2,638
  • Cornwall saw a rise of 300 to 2,794
  • Tewkesbury was up 88%, North Somerset up 49%, Dorset  up 22% and the Cotswolds up 20%

Rises of 7% were recorded in the South East, East Midlands and Eastern Region

Long-term empties in London were up 5% to over 36,000 while a further 49,000 furnished empties or second homes were also recorded as empty.

The largest percentage rise was in the London borough of Harrow where long-term empties rocketed up 1,256% from a mere 61 to over 800 (827)

See data for every council area and every region of England here

Director of Action on Empty Homes, Rebecca Moore, said,

“It beggars belief that while children are growing up sharing beds in temporary accommodation, our nation has over a quarter of a million homes sitting empty.

“To say this is a national disgrace is a profound understatement.

“After more than a decade of intense housing crisis it is shocking to see long-term empty homes in England rise to over 261,000 – another 12,500 more wasted empties, while over 100,000 families are trapped in Temporary Accommodation, costing the nation over £1.7 billion pounds a year.”

“A new national empty homes programme is long overdue – government needs to step up to the plate and offer funding and incentives to get these homes back into use”

“Long-term empties are a huge missed opportunity to invest in green retrofit and create new jobs”

“Action on Empty Homes calls on Government to introduce a new national empty homes programme to create additional housing supply for those in most housing need, utilising properties currently left vacant or in need of renovation.”

Its time for change, its time for action on wasted empty homes.