Housing and Planning

Number of empty homes in Britain one of Europe’s lowest


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In the Media

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Economics

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Kristian Niemietz writes for The Critic

IEA Editorial Director Kristian Niemietz has written for The Critic arguing against the idea that second home ownership and empty houses are driving the housing crisis, and that we should actually want to see more of them.

Kristian wrote:

“It is a complete red herring. Only 2.7 per cent of the English housing stock is classified as “vacant” at any given time, which is one of the lowest rates in the OECD. In France and Germany, the vacancy rate is around 8 per cent.

“The idea that the housing crisis is caused by “housing Kulaks” is just another red herring. There are 2.4 million households in England, or about 9 per cent of the total, who own more than one property. This is one of the lowest second home ownership rates in Europe. 14 per cent of all Belgian households own a second home, as do 15 per cent of German, 18 per cent of French and 27 per cent of Spanish households. 

“In a prosperous country, owning a holiday home should not be considered a frivolous indulgence, but a realistic aspiration. If I were Housing Secretary, my ambition would be to increase the number of empty houses, and to turn Britain into a nation of second homeowners.”

Read Kristian’s full piece here.



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