Select Committee on Transport, Local Government and the Regions Memoranda


Annex 1

VACANT DWELLINGS DATA

Table 1:  Vacant dwellings in England 1993-2000—thousands of dwellings/(% of housing stock) as at 1 April

  
1993
1994
1995
1996
1997
1998
1999
2000
Local authority
70.9
(1.9%)
70.3
(1.9%)
71.8
(2.0%)
79.6
(2.3%)
81.2
(2.4%)
81.7
(2.5%)
83.9
(2.6%)
87.2
(2.9%)
RSLs
17.1
(2.4%)
20.7
(2.7%)
20.9
(2.4%)
23.6
(2.5%)
26.8
(2.6%)
29.3
(2.7%)
32.6
(2.7%)
37.5
(2.8%)
Other public sector
16
(14%)
17
(14%)
20
(16%)
20
(17%)
19
(17%)
19
(18%)
19
(19%)
16
(17%)
Private sector
764.6
(5.0%)
737.5
(4.8%)
689.9
(4.4%)
667.4
(4.2%)
640.0
(4.0%)
623.2
(3.8%)
637.1
(3.9%)
623.2
(3.7%)
Total
868.6
(4.4%)
845.5
(4.2%)
802.6
(4.0%)
790.6
(3.9%)
767.0
(3.7%)
753.2
(3.6%)
772.6
(3.7%)
763.9
(3.6%)


Analysis of the data

  Just under 764,000 properties in England were vacant at 1 April 2000 (3.6 per cent of the housing stock)—a fall of nearly 10,000 on previous year. The total has declined by over 100,000 since the peak in 1993.

  Private sector: 623,000 vacant dwellings (3.7 per cent of the stock)—a decrease of 14,000 on 1999. The increase in 1999 may in part have been the result of local authority over-estimates. Apart from 1999, there has been a steady drop since 1993.

  Local authorities: Over 87,000 vacant dwellings (2.9 per cent of the stock)—an increase of 3,300 on 1999. This is virtually all accounted for by four low-demand regions—Yorkshire & the Humber, North West, North East and West Midlands—and more specifically in the numbers of properties vacant for unspecified reasons. This will include low-demand properties where decisions have not yet been made about future options for the stock. 47,500 local authority homes (1.6 per cent of the total stock) vacant at 1 April 2000 were available for letting immediately or following minor repairs. 39,800 (1.3 per cent) were vacant and unavailable for letting. In practice this is likely to be mainly homes awaiting major repair.

  RSLs: Over 37,000 vacant dwellings (2.8 per cent of the stock)—an increase of nearly 5,000 on 1999. The impact of low demand has been evident in those regions where vacant RSL dwellings are on the increase. 17,500 RSL homes (1.53 per cent of the total self-contained stock) vacant at 1 April 2000 were available for letting. 15,500 (1.36per cent) were vacant and unavailable for letting. In practice this is likely to be mainly homes awaiting major repair.

  Other Public Sector: 16,000 vacant dwellings (16 per cent of the stock)—a decrease of 3,000 on 1999. The decrease is accounted for almost entirely by hand-back of MOD properties to Annington Homes Ltd and transfers out of the Highways Agency stock.

Table 2:  Regional breakdown of vacant dwellings/% of housing stock vacant at 1 April 2000 by tenure

  
Local Authority
RSL
Other Public Sector
Private Sector
Total all tenure
  
Number
Dwellings
%
stock
Number
Dwellings
%
stock
Number
Dwellings
%
stock
Number
Dwellings
%
stock
Number
Dwellings
%
stock
North East
10,000
3.6%
2,100
3.9%
700
  
37,100
4.7%
49,900
4.4%
North West
19,600
4.4%
10,500
4.8%
3,200
  
106,100
4.6%
139,400
4.7%
Yorks & Humber
15,400
3.7%
2,400
3.1%
1,300
  
80,600
4.9%
99,700
4.6%
East Midlands
6,100
2.3%
2,600
3.7%
1,800
  
57,500
4.0%
68,000
3.8%
West Midlands
12,800
3.6%
4,400
2.9%
900
  
61,700
3.6%
79,800
3.6%
Eastern
4,000
1.4%
1,900
1.6%
1,600
  
62,700
3.3%
70,200
3.0%
London
12,900
2.3%
7,300
2.7%
1,700
  
83,400
3.7%
105,300
3.4%
South East
3,600
1.4%
3,600
1.6%
2,500
  
77,800
2.7%
87,500
2.6%
South West
2,800
1.6%
2,700
2.0%
2,300
  
56,300
3.1%
64,100
3.0%
England
87,200
2.9%
37,500
2.8%
16,000
17%
623,200
3.7%
763,900
3.6%


  Note: % of vacant stock split by region for Other Public Sector is not available

Table 3:  Regional breakdown of dwellings vacant/ % of housing stock vacant for more than 12 months at 1 April 2000 by tenure

  
Local Authority
RSL
Other Public Sector
Private Sector
Total all tenure
  
Number
Dwellings
%
stock
Number
Dwellings
%
stock
Number
Dwellings
%
stock
Number
Dwellings
%
stock
Number
Dwellings
%
stock
North East
2,600
1.0%
  
  
  
  
13,300
1.7%
  
  
North West
6,200
1.4%
  
  
  
  
33,400
1.4%
  
  
Yorks & Humber
3,500
0.8%
  
  
  
  
27,700
1.7%
  
  
East Midlands
900
0.3%
  
  
  
  
19,400
1.3%
  
  
West Midlands
2,800
0.8%
  
  
  
  
22,900
1.3%
  
  
Eastern
500
0.2%
  
  
  
  
18,000
0.9%
  
  
London
4,200
0.8%
  
  
  
  
26,100
1.2%
  
  
South East
400
0.2%
  
  
  
  
24,900
0.9%
  
  
South West
400
0.3%
  
  
  
  
16,200
0.9%
  
  
England
21,500
0.7%
7,100
0.5%
5,000
5%
201,900
1.2%
235,500
1.1%


  Note: % of vacant stock split by region for RSLs and Other Public Sector is not available

Table 4:  Regional breakdown of dwellings in low demand areas by tenure

  
Local Authority
RSL
Private Sector
  
Number
Dwellings
%
stock
Number
Dwellings
%
stock
Number
Dwellings
%
stock
North East
64,000
22
7,900
16
20,200
2.8
North West
113,000
23
32,600
19
173,700
8.6
Yorks & Humber
58,500
13
10,500
14
55,300
3.8
East Midlands
31,500
11
6,700
13
33,500
2.5
West Midlands
43,000
11
9,100
8
59,800
3.9
Eastern
12,000
4
5,900
9
8,300
0.9
London
35,500
6
7,000
3
7,300
0.4
South East
10,500
4
9,200
4
6,000
0.2
South West
9,000
4
2,600
3
11,400
0.7
England
377,000
12
92,100
8
375,000
2.6

ANALYSIS OF RATES OF VACANT DWELLINGS AND INCIDENCE OF LOW DEMAND

The social sector

  It is generally the case that the highest local authority vacancy rates are also where low demand is evident—in the NE, NW, WM and Y&H. But there is also a wide range of vacancy rates within regions.

  In the NE (3.6 per cent average local authority vacancy rate) there were six authorities with a vacancy rate over 4 per cent (Newcastle, Wear Valley, North Tyneside, Easington, Stockton on Tees, and Wansbeck) and all contain areas of social sector low demand.

  In Y&H (3.7 per cent average local authority vacancy rate) there were five authorities with a vacancy rate over 4 per cent. The highest three Bradford, Calderdale and Hull also experienced low demand. But fewer authorities experienced low demand in this region than NE or NW.

  In the West Midlands (3.6 per cent average local authority vacancy rate) the bottom four authorities were Wolverhampton, Sandwell, Coventry and Walsall, and all have been identified as having areas of low demand. But low demand can also affect parts of an authority or even particular estates and may not be reflected in the vacancy rate for the area as a whole—eg Birmingham.

  The NW has the highest regional local authority vacancy rate (4.2 per cent), and a high number of authorities contain areas of social sector low demand. But again, some authorities containing areas of low demand have lower than average vacancy rates. Five authorities have a vacancy rate of over 6 per cent: Knowsley, Liverpool, Carlisle, Salford and Blackburn.

  In London, where the local authority vacancy rate averaged 2.3 per cent, the rates were over 3 per cent in five authorities—Tower Hamlets, Brent, Lambeth, Hackney and Redbridge, with low demand evident on estates in Tower Hamlets and Lambeth.

The private sector

  Generally the highest vacancy rates in the private sector coincide with areas where low demand has been identified in the private sector, particularly in the NE, NW, WM and Y&H.

  The NE (4.7 per cent) and Y&H (4.9 per cent) have similar average private sector vacancy rates, but the NE has a greater range, with five areas having a rate of more than 7 per cent (Newcastle, Wear Valley, Easington, Durham and Middlesbrough), but Durham is not an area of private sector low demand.

  The West Midlands (3.6 per cent) has a range of private sector vacancy rates with some very high and some very low. The two areas with the highest private sector rates—Wolverhampton and Stoke on Trent—are also areas where low demand has been identified.

  The NW (4.6 per cent) contains some of the highest private sector vacancy rates in the country. The rate is over 6 per cent in eight areas (Bolton, Pendle, Blackburn, Liverpool, Hyndburn, Salford, Burnley, Manchester), and these also contain areas of low demand in the private sector.

  The SE has a low average vacancy rate (2.7 per cent) but some parts of the region have a relatively high rate. Dover, Thanet, Hastings, Swale and Shepway have rates of over 6 per cent. There are some pockets of low demand and only Dover and Hastings have been identified as containing areas of low demand in the private sector. London also has some pockets of low demand in the private sector. The private sector vacancy rate for London as a whole was 3.7 per cent.


 
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Prepared 24 October 2001