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A fifth of England's empty homes are in the North West

New research found that many of the empty homes end up being abandoned because they aren't suitable for habitation. Photo: PA

There are 40,000 empty homes in the North West, according to a new report from the National Housing Federation.

That's a fifth of the total number of unoccupied dwellings in the country.

The new statistics come from the North West Home Truths 2017/18 report, which publishes annual data on the region's housing trends. Credit: PA

The North West has the highest number of empty homes in the country and has the same number of empty homes as the North East and Yorkshire and Humber combined.

This is despite the fact that the number of empty homes in the region has almost halved since 2008, when it reached a peak of 73,888.

The North West doesn't have a housing shortage like other areas of the country but much of the housing stock that does exist isn't suitable and therefore ends up abandoned or empty. It might be in need of renovation, or located in areas of economic decline, lacking in transport links or with few jobs.

The North West doesn't have a housing shortage like other areas of the country. Credit: PA

The Federation says that empty homes are having a devastating impact on the local economy and communities.

It can't be right to leave property empty when so many are desperate for a place to live. Empty properties in some areas are having a profound impact on local markets and those who need housing.

What we need is a genuine commitment to ensuring good quality affordable housing is available at the right price, in the right places and for the right people.

– Ciaran Tully, NHF

Ciaran Tully, the National Housing Federation's External Affairs Manager for the North West, said: "Building homes not only creates jobs, but also supports jobs in housing associations once they are built and adds money to the local economy from residents' spending.

"Housing associations are doing just this but we now need the backing of key local partners to help us build in the right places, free up planning and help us to deliver the types of affordable housing needed most.

"With this support we can not only ramp up supply, but also begin vital regeneration projects, enhance infrastructure and bring empty homes back into use."