The number of empty homes across England has risen for the third year running — and now accounts for a staggering £56.8billion worth of vacant stock, analysis by offsite eco housebuilder Project Etopia shows.
The number of long-term vacant properties rose 4.5% to 225,845 in 12 months to October 2019 according to the latest MHCLG figures, following a 5.3% rise in 2018 and a 2.6% in 2017.
Prior to this, the number of long-term vacant properties had dropped every year since 2008.
Of all towns and cities in England, Solihull saw the biggest percentage rise in long-term empty homes last year, with 67.7% more properties standing empty long term, totalling 265.
Newcastle under Lyme saw the second biggest rise (47.6% to 304), while Reading posted the third largest increase (47.5% to 571).
The top three worst offenders with the highest overall number of long-term vacant homes in the country remained unchanged on last year.
Birmingham is first with 4,575 — a significant 6.8% rise on the previous year, followed by Durham with 4,209 and Bradford with 4,040.
Across England, long-term vacant homes — those that have been empty for at least six months — are worth a collective £56.8bn.