16 Feb

Empty homes 'the best way to provide affordable housing'

Empty homes 'the best way to provide affordable housing'

The best way of providing more affordable housing at present is to bring unoccupied existing homes back into use, the Empty Homes Agency has said.

Policy advisor at the body Henry Oliver argued that now is a very good time for the government to switch its policy emphasis from new-builds to bringing such dwellings back into use, with the number of developments having fallen due to the housing market downturn.

He stated: "Empty homes are probably the quickest, easiest and best way of providing housing and particularly affordable housing at the moment."

In addition to this, they remove the "blight" on local communities that can arise when such buildings are used for criminal activity, Mr Oliver added.

The Empty Homes Agency recently expressed its "dismay" at government figures revealing that the number of empty homes in England rose from 672,000 in 2007 to 697,000 in 2008.

It has estimated that the UK-wide total is now 943,000.
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