Scotland’s Empty Homes ‘Worth Over £4 Billion’

November 17, 2015

Empty residential properties around Scotland could be worth a combined total of close to £4.3 billion, it has been claimed.

According to the Scottish Empty Homes Partnership (SEHP), there are roughly 27,000 homes being left permanently vacant around the country despite the fact that they could function as good homes for some of the tens of thousands of Scots who don’t currently have anywhere to live.

It is estimated that the average market value of uninhabited properties in Scotland is close to £160,000, with around 150,000 Scottish families currently waiting to be housed.

The SEHP, which is operated by the homelessness charity Shelter Scotland, is keen to see as many vacant homes as possible brought back into use nationwide in order to address what it is calling a housing crisis in Scotland.

With backing from the Scottish government, the partnership has already helped to bring 1,200 formerly empty properties back into use as family homes but it is aiming to reduce the number of unused homes much further in the coming months.

Speaking ahead of the Scottish Empty Homes Conference event in Edinburgh, architect and TV presenter George Clarke said: “With thousands of empty homes across Scotland, it’s a disgrace that so many families are going without something as fundamental as a home of their own.

“I totally support the building of new homes and we should be building tens of thousands of them, but we need to look at other options too.”

“While we acknowledge that empty homes alone cannot solve Scotland’s housing crisis, they can be part of the solution to finding permanent and affordable homes to the 150,000 families and individuals across the country on waiting lists,” said Graeme Brown from Shelter Scotland.

The empty homes conference event in Edinburgh this month will be the fifth to date and will bring together a variety of stakeholders to discuss the practical challenges involved in making empty homes in Scotland available for homeless families to live in.

“It makes absolutely no sense for us to have homes lying empty when homelessness still exists in Scotland,” said the Scottish government’s housing minister Margaret Burgess in a statement ahead of the event.

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