By using this website, you agree to our use of cookies to enhance your experience.
Graham Awards


Lender hires TV property guru to highlight empty homes scandal

Homes Under The Hammer property expert Lucy Alexander is fronting a new campaign to identify empty homes and bring them back into use.

She is the lead person on a campaign by mortgage lender Together which claims that the latest figures, as of the end of 2023, show that Greater London is the region with the highest volume of abandoned and derelict homes, with nearly 290,000 standing completely empty.

In total, these empty properties are worth over £180 billion and making them available to first time buyers and home movers could play a major part in easing the UK’s growing housing crisis.


The study also identifies the scale of crumbling civic and commercial buildings across the UK – the ‘Hidden Gems’ which could be given a new lease of life as housing - following government proposals in recent weeks to cut red tape.

Housing Secretary Michael Gove has pledged that developers will be able to convert shops, offices, and other commercial buildings into homes without full planning permission, with the changes resulting in tens of thousands of homes being built every year in England’s 20 largest regional cities.

A national survey by Together found 77% of respondents who have abandoned or derelict buildings in their local city agreed that redeveloping these sites would revitalise the local community and create more jobs with 67% feeling the spaces are a waste of valuable land and development potential.

Some 43% of UK adults admitted they witness an abandoned commercial or civic building at least weekly - 17% every day. Meanwhile, more than one in five (21%) admitted walking past or seeing an abandoned residential building at least weekly - 8% do this daily.

Alexander says: “During my time with Homes Under The Hammer, very often the homes we were filming for the show would be derelict and left untouched and unloved for years. I’ve always enjoyed the thrill of seeing these abandoned properties taken on by those who aren’t shy of a challenge and want to transform a unique property into a home.

“So many people just don’t think these types of buildings are accessible which is why Together’s Hidden Gems campaign is so important – shining a light on the vast opportunities across the country and how to secure the financing needed to complete these amazing projects.”

The top three regions where the volume of empty properties is rising the highest since 2021 is led by the South West of England at 20%, the East of England at 16% and East Midlands at 15%.

Looking at property type, the London Boroughs combined have the most detached homes with 9,199 worth £11.5 billion. At the Local Authority level however, Cornwall is the detached vacant home capital with 9,180 detached houses with a value of £4.2 billion.

For semi-detached homes it’s Birmingham with 4,721 empty properties worth £1.2 billion and while County Durham has the highest volume of terraced homes at 7,472 worth £757m. Westminster holds the highest volume of empty flats and apartments at 33,102, worth £27 billion.

Elliot Vure, corporate director at Together, adds: “Fixing the UK housing crisis has been a long-standing and thorny problem for successive Governments. What is needed is a more joined-up approach. There should be a long-term strategy to encourage homebuyers and rental investors to bring back to life the hundreds of thousands empty homes across the UK’s regions. And, while we welcome moves to relax planning restrictions to enable more commercial-to-residential developments, there needs to be greater access to funding for what can often be complex projects.

“There is no one-size-fits-all solution. However, through our Hidden Gems we hope to open doors to potential homebuyers, investors, and developers to make sure they have access to finance, support through Government policies and incentives to achieve their ambitions.”

Total volume and value of abandoned and derelict residential properties by region


Total empty homes

Value of empty homes

% change

Greater London




South East England




North West England




South West England




Yorkshire And The Humber




East of England




West Midlands




East Midlands




North East England




  • icon

    This article highlights what we already know. A waste of buildings on an enormous scale.
    Are there any similar statistics for Wales?


Please login to comment

MovePal MovePal MovePal
sign up