The UK Cities Worst Affected by the Housing Crisis

The UK media is filled with news about the UK’s housing crisis, with a shortage of properties around the country leading to rising house prices and young people struggling to get on the property ladder. 

In contradiction to this, we also hear news of the rising number of vacant homes around the UK. 

The team at CIA Landlords set out to discover the cities that have the most vacant homes and those that have the worst housing crisis to see if there is a correlation between the two.  Through this research we can discover whether fixing the vacant homes issue could simultaneously help some cities solve their housing shortage issue. 

We also looked at brownfield land availability in cities across the UK to assess which cities across the UK would benefit most from developing houses on their available brownfield land.

Bournemouth has the costliest number of vacant homes outside of London

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Due to London’s vast size, there are a total of 87,731 vacant homes making it the top city in the UK for the costliest number of vacant homes. With London house prices averaging around £1.49 million, the cost of vacant homes in the capital is approximately £130.8 billion. 

When looking at the number of vacant homes in Bournemouth (7,213) and comparing this to the average house price in the city (£414,624), our study determined that the average cost of vacant homes is nearly £3 billion. Bournemouth therefore has the second most costly number of vacant homes in the UK (top outside of London). 

Vacant homes are an issue throughout the UK. Our study found that cities such as Manchester (3rd) and Leeds (8th) also have vacant homes worth millions of pounds that could help alleviate the housing crisis if they were to be sold and occupied.

Here you can see the top 10 cities in the UK for costliest number of vacant homes:

Rank

UK city

No. of vacant homes (2021)

Average house price (£) (2022)

Approximate cost of vacant homes (£)

1

London

87,731

1,490,332

130,748,291,250

2

Bournemouth

7,213

414,624

2,990,686,158

3

Manchester

8,024

279,475

2,242,508,523

4

Birmingham

6,975

302,117

2,107,263,146

5

Brighton & Hove

3,388

492,002

1,666,902,200

6

Bristol

3,735

422,842

1,579,313,488

7

Coventry

4,399

348,685

1,533,863,863

8

Leeds

4,857

290,905

1,412,926,216

9

Bradford

6,056

229,782

1,391,558,217

10

Reading

2,595

445,967

1,157,284,365

Liverpool is currently experiencing the worst housing crisis in the UK 

Our team has discovered which cities in the UK are suffering from a housing crisis the most. In order to do this we took the city's population and divided it by the average number of people living in a single property to reveal how many properties each city needs.

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Liverpool is currently experiencing the worst housing crisis in the UK with a deficit of nearly a quarter of a million homes. It was reported at the end of 2021 that the city has a £36m brownfield project plan to add nearly 3,000 homes to the city to help aid the housing crisis. 

Leicester has the 2nd worst housing crisis in the UK, with a deficit of around 135,201 homes needed. 

Here you can see the top 10 cities in the UK for worst housing crisis by deficit of homes: 

Rank

City

Number of properties needed 2022

Deficit of houses

1

Liverpool

466,626

-232,759

2

Leicester

274,815

-135,201

3

Bristol

333,331

-129,770

4

Sheffield

370,099

-116,362

5

Reading

171,728

-100,423

6

Cardiff

241,535

-88,170

7

Stoke-on-Trent

201,299

-83,609

8

Birmingham

531,540

-82,728

9

Luton

139,330

-58,041

10

Coventry

194,001

-49,062

London, Leeds and Bournemouth have the highest number of surplus homes in the UK

On the other end of the scale, cities around the UK with an abundance of homes include London, Leeds and Bournemouth who have high numbers of surplus properties available. 

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For now, cities such as Edinburgh and Swindon have small numbers of surplus homes, but this could change in the future - especially with Edinburgh’s rising population levels, due to increasing numbers of people from around Scotland and other parts of the UK moving to the Scottish capital. 

Here you can see the top 10 cities in the UK for surplus housing:

Rank

City

Number of properties needed 2022

Surplus of houses

1

London

4,839,474

445,83

2

Leeds

245,766

111,041

3

Bournemouth

88,344

97,908

4

Bradford

161,627

56,265

5

Brighton & Hove

75,061

54,260

6

Newcastle-Upon-Tyne

103,886

30,439

7

Manchester

213,578

21,446

8

Aberdeen

106,202

14,778

9

Edinburgh

251,095

3,834

10

Swindon

100,229

40

Solving Glasgow’s vacant home issue could help ease their housing crisis by 86.4%

CIA Landlord Insurance

Our data found that over 86% of Glasgow’s housing deficit could be considerably lessened if some of their vacant homes were inhabited. Thus making it the city with the most to gain from solving their vacant homes issue. 

The next city to benefit most from vacant homes being lived in is Portsmouth. This city could see their housing crisis decrease by over one fifth if vacant homes were sold to those on the hunt for a new home. 

Of the cities where we can see there is a deficit of houses, our data found that the following five cities would benefit the most from the selling of their vacant homes:

Rank

City

% of deficit reduced by selling of vacant homes

1

Glasgow

86.38

2

Portsmouth

20.53

3

Coventry

8.97

4

Birmingham

8.43

5

Plymouth

8.03

Coventry’s housing crisis could be reduced 73% by maximising their brownfield land potential

We found that maximising brownfield housing potential in Coventry would have a profound impact on the city's housing crisis. The city’s housing crisis could potentially be reduced by nearly three quarters (73%). 

Coventry is not the only city where brownfield potential could make a huge difference to a city’s housing crisis. Plymouth, Nottingham, Portsmouth and Birmingham all have the potential to ease their housing crisis considerably if they were to take advantage of their brownfield housing potential. 

We can also see from this data that certain cities, such as Manchester, London and Edinburgh actually do not necessarily need to spend their money on further housing development as they currently have a surplus property.

Table Key

Negative (-) numbers = Deficit of houses

Positive number = Surplus housing

City

Housing crisis currently (2022)

Number of properties that could be built on brownfield land

Housing crisis if brownfield potential was maximised

Housing crisis difference when brownfield potential maximised (%)

Edinburgh

3,834

37,000

40,834

965%

Manchester

21,446

100,048

121,494

467%

Coventry

-49,062

36,000

-13,062

73%

London

445,831

256,407

702,238

58%

Plymouth

-19,730

7254

-12,476

37%

Nottingham

-31,726

10,116

-21,610

32%

Portsmouth

-13,611

4170

-9,441

31%

Birmingham

-82,728

23,000

-59,728

28%

Leeds

111,041

30,000

141,041

27%

Newcastle-Upon-Tyne

30,439

7307

37,746

24%

Derby

-34,287

6651

-27,636

19%

Sheffield

-116,362

20,838

-95,524

18%

Norwich

-48,006

7804

-40,202

16%

Southampton

-23,748

3779

-19,969

16%

Bradford

56,265

7773

64,038

14%

Luton

-58,041

6702

-51,339

12%

Brighton & Hove

54,260

4868

59,128

9%

Stoke-on-Trent

-83,609

7073

-76,536

8%

Kingston-Upon-Hull

-46,847

2747

-44,100

6%

Bristol

-129,770

6602

-123,168

5%

Liverpool

-232,759

10,994

-221,765

5%

Leicester

-135,201

4927

-130,274

4%

Wolverhampton

-24,305

949

-23,356

4%

Bournemouth

97,908

2971

100,879

3%

Reading

-100,423

51

-100,372

0%

From analysing the data above, we can see that the housing crisis cannot necessarily be eradicated with the selling of vacant homes and building on brownfield sites alone. However, in tackling these issues, cities could see a noticeable reduction in their overall housing crisis. 

Methodology

Key for where in the UK have the costliest number of vacant homes

We took the number of vacant homes per city and the average price of property in each city to figure out the cost of each city’s vacant homes. 

Key for where has worst housing crisis UK

There are 67.22 million people in the UK and 361061 people on average looking for property in the UK in 2021. 

361,061 is 0.54% of 67.22million 

0.54% of each city's population therefore tells us on average how many people are looking for properties to buy. 

We then compared this to how many properties there are available for sale in each city to see whether each city has enough properties for their housing needs. 

Key for percentage of a city’s housing crisis that could be solved by selling on of vacant homes

To do this we checked the percentage difference of housing deficit before and after the potential selling of vacant homes.

Key for brownfield land potential

To do this we took the number of homes (deficit or surplus) currently available in each city and calculated the difference of available homes if brownfield land potential was maximised in each city to find out which cities would see the biggest benefit.

 

Sources

Data.london.gov.uk

actiononemptyhomes.org

northamptonchron.co.uk

cardiff.moderngov.co.uk

Glasgowlive.co.uk

Housesforsaletorent.co.uk

Rightmove.co.uk

Citymayors.com

Worldpopulationreview.com

Birminghammail.co.uk 

S3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com

gov.uk./government/statistical-data-sets/

Statistics.gov.scot

Statswales.gov.wales