As concern for the shortage of housing becomes widespread, there are thousands of properties left empty for six months or more across the UK.

One example is the Bezier building in London, which stands in a fashionable and expensive part of the city. The flats in the building can sometimes sell for more than £1m, and the rental income is in excess of £2,000 a month. Despite this, over half of the units remain empty, with July’s figures showing 42% unoccupied. Islington Council has placed the blame on a culture known as ‘buy-to-leave’ when investors buy a property but then don’t rent it out or live in it, making the UK’s housing shortage even worse.

According to data provided by the government, around 610,123 homes in England are empty, with 205,821 being unoccupied for the long term, which means they have been empty for more than six months.

Henry Pryor, a property expert, has said that leaving properties empty is a calculating move by investors, as the cost of letting out property can be far higher than the rental income. He added that new build properties at the top end of the market are sometimes purposely left empty, as potential buyers want their home to be pristine rather than second hand. The chief executive of the charity Empty Homes, Helen Williams, said that the government should focus on creating affordable housing from empty properties, in addition to building new homes.

Although a CeMAP trained mortgage adviser can help buyers to find a suitable mortgage, affordable properties have to be available initially, to address the housing shortage in the UK.

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