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216,000 empty properties could help homeless crisis

THE number of empty homes in England increased by almost 11,000 last year to 216,000, a study reveals.

Research by Action on Empty Homes and the Nationwide building society indicated that 2018 saw the fastest rise in the number of long-term unoccupied properties since the 2008 recession.

Their report calls for urgent action to bring them back into circulation to help tackle the housing crisis.

There are currently more than one million families on waiting lists for local authority homes. The number of vacant properties increased by 5.3 per cent — double the 2.6 per cent rise seen the previous year.

The 216,000 empty properties is equivalent to 72 per cent of the government’s annual new homes target.

Will McMahon, director of Action on Empty Homes said: ‘With homeless numbers at their highest levels in over a decade, it makes no sense to leave hundreds of thousands of homes standing long-term empty.’