Welcome fall in empty homes but cost of living crisis threatens progress 

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THE SCOTTISH Empty Homes Partnership (SEHP) has welcomed a fall in the number of long-term empty properties in Scotland but warned the cost-of-living crisis may make it harder to sell homes or refurbish empty properties in the year ahead.

Statistics published today by the Scottish Government show the number of long-term empty properties fell for the second consecutive year in 2022. Compared to 2021 the total number of long-term empty homes fell by 2% from 43,766 to 42,865.

Despite an overall fall in the numbers of empty properties, there was a mixed picture in different parts of the country. 3 local authorities (Aberdeen City, Dumfries and Galloway, East Ayrshire) saw reductions of more than 10% in the number of long-term empty properties, while 7 (West Dunbartonshire, East Dunbartonshire, East Renfrewshire, Highland, Orkney Islands, Dundee City, South Lanarkshire) saw increases of more than 10%.

Other Key statistics in the statistics published today show:

  • Numbers of homes empty for 6 to 12 months has gone down from 15,912 to 15,173 a decrease of 4.64%. This follows on from a 5.18% decrease in 2021.
  • Numbers of homes empty for more than 12 months has gone down from 27,854 to 27,692 a decrease of 0.58% following of from an 8.83% decrease in 2021.

Commenting on the figures, Shaheena Din, National Project Manager for Scottish Empty Homes Partnership, said: “It is encouraging that the number of long-term empty properties has fallen again this year. It’s particularly good to see that the numbers of empty homes in Aberdeen fell by almost a third, reversing a trend of rising numbers there for several years.”

“However, it is a concern that there have been some large increases in other parts of the country, and we know that the cost of living crisis may make it harder to sell or refurbish empty properties in the year ahead.”

“At the same time, rising prices mean that many people are struggling to afford the cost of renting or buying a home. Empty homes give us an opportunity to develop innovative approaches to address the housing crisis and increase the supply of social and affordable housing.  This will be a key topic at this year’s Empty Homes Conference, “Reduce, reuse, revitalise”. 

Tickets are still available for the 12th Scottish Empty Homes Conference taking place on 1 March 2023 at The Engine Shed Stirling. This year’s conference will focus on how the repair and reuse of empty homes is helping to revitalise communities and local economies, as well as offering a cost-effective approach to delivering environmental sustainability goals.

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