More than 200,000 homes in England with a total value of £43bn were empty for at least six months during 2016 despite the desperate shortage of properties to rent and buy.
According to official figures, Birmingham was the worst affected city outside London with 4,397 empty homes worth an estimated £956m, followed by Bradford and Liverpool.
Across London there were 19,845 homes sitting idle for over six months in 2016, which amounted to £9.4bn worth of property, based on the average price in London of £474,704.
The wealthy borough of Kensington and Chelsea was the worst performer in London as super-rich owners rejected renting them out or selling up in favour of leaving their properties lying idle. The trend for the world’s super-rich to invest in prime London property as a way to safeguard their wealth, without the need to secure a rental income, has meant the number of empty homes in Kensington and Chelsea rose 22.7% over the same period and 8.5% since 2015. The royal borough had 1,399 empty homes worth £664m, compared with second-placed Croydon, which had 1,216 empty homes worth £577m.