Updated figures for 2012 have been published this week for empty homes in each Local authority. In Tower Hamlets, there are 2,317 homes which were empty. There are 113,000 homes in Tower Hamlets, so only an unoccupied rate of 2 per cent. 915 of these are owned by either Tower Hamlets directly or by a housing association, which is 2.3 per cent of properties, so slightly greater than the housing stock in total.
However, this masks the elephant in the room, that there is a latent pool of housing both public and private that could potentially ease housing problems but the majority of this empty property is privately owned. Of course, some of this is only empty for short periods – but 806 properties were long-term unoccupied.
There will always need to be empty properties to allow some ‘liquidity’ of movement (otherwise for one family to move to a different property, you would need to line up a series of other families to all move at the same time – imagine a really long house buying chain). However, it would be interesting to know if additional housing stock could be released.