London is one of the most desirable locations on the planet, so why are there so many empty properties in the UK capital? We take a closer look at the facts.


London is the largest economic centre on the planet, is home to more than 8.5 million people, and has an average property price of more than £617k, yet many of its properties are currently sitting unoccupied.


As of late 2018, it was estimated the number of empty houses in London to be 20,237, which seems bizarre given that the demand is stronger than ever and the population continues to rise, predicted to exceed 9 million by 2020.


So, just why aren’t these houses being lived in? We take a closer look at the reasons for this strange phenomenon that seems so at odds with the bustling, crowded and economically booming capital.


A Surplus of Luxury Apartments


To the chagrin of the ordinary working Londoner, a large slice of the empty homes in the capital are in the high end, luxury penthouse / apartment category.


Developers, both from the UK and abroad, see opportunity in inexpensive land, buy up and pump their remaining budget into creating luxurious, highly profitable residences. The problem is that the demand for these types of properties isn’t nearly as high as the demand for regular, ordinary places to set up home.


Working families and young people are unable to afford these sprawling multi million pound apartments, and they’re not really designed for such clientele anyway.


On top of this, 1 in 5 of these luxury homeowners is from overseas, meaning that they’re less likely to spend extended periods of time in the capital. Many apartments have also been also bought as second homes, and their owners spend the majority of their time elsewhere.


Derelict & Abandoned Buildings


There are several empty homes in London that have simply fallen by the wayside, and with no funding to get them back to being suitable for living in, they remain empty for sometimes years at a time. This often happens as a result of over-enthusiastic developers.


They may have been bought in the 1990s, when London properties sold for less than quarter of the current average asking price, and over the years development and maintenance costs skyrocketed to the point where these developers couldn’t afford to take the risk on fixing them up.


There are countless warehouses, schools, unfinished constructions, even entire blocks of flats that are sitting derelict and abandoned, with their owner just waiting for the price to rise enough to make a profitable sell. Meanwhile, London is now a place where inhabitants are forced to fit their whole lives into as little as 13 square metres, and renters are now outnumbering homeowners… It doesn’t make much sense, does it?


What we need is innovative, imaginative and human-focused property development from contractors with a conscience. If you’re passionate about transforming London’s property landscape, get in touch today to arrange an informal consultation.