Leeds ranks fourth in empty homes league of shame - despite vast improvements

Across England, more than 200,000 houses were long-term empty in 2015.''Picture: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire
Across England, more than 200,000 houses were long-term empty in 2015.''Picture: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire
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LEEDS has ranked fourth in England in a league of shame naming the country’s empty home hotspots - despite a concerted effort to drop the number.

An analysis of Government data showed neighbouring Bradford had the highest number of houses left empty for more than six months last year, 4,154.

Leeds followed Birmingham and Liverpool in fourth place, with 2,679 long-term empty homes, worth an estimated £364m, according to property website Property Partner.

It said that across England, 203,596 homes were left long-term vacant, worth £38bn.

West Yorkshire had the highest number of long-term empty properties of all English districts, worth an estimated £1.4bn.

Last December, the YEP revealed there were 27,058 long-term empty homes in Yorkshire in 2014, the then-most recent Government figures. That dropped slightly for 2015, to 26,750. In Leeds, the number of empty houses in 2014 was 2,915, which fell to 2,679 last year. In 2005, the number stood at 4,542.

While this marks an improvement, the number of properties owned by Leeds Council standing long-term empty rose slightly, from 413 in 2014 to 421 last year.

A spokesman for Leeds City Council said: “Leeds is a national leader in bringing empty homes back in to use. We have invested a significant amount of resource into bringing empty homes – the vast majority of which are in private hands - in Leeds back into use and this will continue to be a priority for us as a council.

“We have already seen some excellent results, with the number of empty homes across the city dropping by more than 3,000 over the past five years.

“There is no mistaking that there is still much more to do. By building on our successes and continuing our support for the Empty Homes Doctor, the Leeds neighbourhood approach, empty home loans and buying back former council properties we can tackle empty properties head on.”

Property Partner chief executive Dan Gandesha said the figures of empty homes nationally revealed “a shocking waste of opportunity”.