Wakefield could host 'empty homes fair' to advertise derelict homes

The number of empty homes in Wakefield has fallen sharply in recent years, but the council wants to reduce the figure further.
The number of empty homes in Wakefield has fallen sharply in recent years, but the council wants to reduce the figure further.

An "empty property fair" to advertise some of Wakefield's 4,000 derelict homes could be held next year.

Nearly three per cent of the district's overall housing stock is currently unused, in what has been described as a "waste", given the nation's shortage of affordable homes.

Although the number of empty homes in Wakefield has fallen sharply in recent years, the council are renewing efforts to get more properties filled.

Among drives being considered to tackle the problem is a fair, the like of which was last held five years ago.

On that occasion it was considered a success but it has not been held since.

A report going before councillors next week says: "In 2013 Wakefield held an empty property fair to promote the available support and try and link home owners with investors and those interested in buying property.

"Around 80 people and 17 businesses attended and feedback suggested that some links had been created between owners and buyers; and maybe one or two sales.

"As a result, a similar event was organised the following year but only generated interest from investors, and consequently was cancelled.

"No further fairs have been held since. (It was( suggested that rather than hold the event annually, every five years may be more successful as there would be more new people in the target audience."

Around 1,500 Wakefield homes have been empty for more than six months, council figures say.

The local authority enforces hikes in council tax on properties left unfilled for two years or more, in a bid to encourage landlords to take action.

The report adds: "Empty homes are a wasted resource, particularly today when there is a shortage of available homes to both buy and rent.

"It is estimated that in England there is a need for around 245,000 homes each year to meet the demand and at least a third of these need to be below market prices and rents.

"Existing empty homes can help to resolve the housing crisis and at the same time minimise the amount of land and materials required for development."