A NORTH-EAST town has been named in the UKs top 10 areas where houses are remaining empty for the longest.

Research commissioned by Coulters, using data from Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, has identified the UKs empty home hotspots.

Using the data, it has found there are currently 640,000 empty homes, accounting for 2.65 per cent of houses across the country. 

It has found Hartlepool is fifth in the UK with 2,078 properties out of 44,250 (4.70 per cent) in the area reportedly unoccupied and unused.

According to the research, buyers in the area have been found to pay around 17 per cent less for a property compared to other parts of the North-East.

How Hartlepool compares with the UK 

1. Blackpool - 5.47 per cent 

2. Burnley 5.09 per cent

3. City of London - 4.78 per cent

4. Barrow - 4.70 per cent

5. Hartlepool - 4.70 per cent 

6. Liverpool - 4.67 per cent

7. Southwark - 4.63 per cent

8. Hyndburn - 4.50 per cent

9. Blackburn with Darwen - 4.43 per cent

10. Fylde - 4.40 per cent

Expert explains the reason behind those empty properties

Michael Fitzgerald, Chairman at Coulters Property, said: “It is very surprising that despite the demand for housing being so high at present, with UK mortgage applications at a 12-year high, 4.70 per cent of properties in Hartlepool are left vacant. 

"Buyers in Hartlepool have been found to pay approximately 17 per cent less for a property compared to other areas in the North-East.

"Despite this, our research found that 2,078 properties (of a total 44,250 in Hartlepool) are left unoccupied and unused.

"Some will be empty for good reason, and of no use to those on waiting lists for social housing etc, however many, once reclaimed by the government, have the potential to make lovely homes for those in need of secure housing. 

“There are a lot of reasons as to why houses might be left unoccupied, from part-time homes and Airbnbs to properties that are bought to be renovated and sold on. 

“As a landlord, there are lots of regulations to adhere to and additional costs to consider, meaning that those who once traditionally rented out their houses via residential lettings, may now opt for an Airbnb holiday home model, in which the property is registered as business premises.  

“However, considering that homeless numbers are at their highest in over a decade, it seems unfair that thousands of homes are left empty over long periods of time, particularly as it has been found that large concentrations of empty homes can have negative impacts on neighbouring properties.

"Looking to the future, the government should be investing money in getting these properties back into use to meet housing demands, particularly in those lower value markets.”