1. ITV Report

More than 40,000 empty homes a ‘wasted resource’ in Wales

Credit: ITV News

43,028 homes are currently empty in Wales, with at least 18,000 empty for more than six months, according to data obtained by ITV News.

Rhondda Cynon Taff has the highest number of empty homes - 4,195 - while Torfaen has the fewest at 674.

Shelter Cymru described unoccupied properties in the face of a national housing shortage as a “wasted resource” which can “blight” communities.

If there are empty homes in areas where there are people waiting for homes on the social rented housing list, that does seem wrong, doesn’t it?

– John Puzey, Shelter Cymru
A currently empty house in Rhondda Cynon Taff. Credit: ITV News

The Welsh Government says it provides ongoing support to bring empty properties back into use, by funding and supporting a variety of schemes.

One of those is Homestep Plus, which buys up empty homes and renovates them before selling them on to first time buyers. Operated by the housing association United Welsh in conjunction with Rhondda Cynon Taff council, it sells the homes at 70% of the open market price.

“The challenge that we have is trying to engage people”, said Michelle Collins of United Welsh.

A lot of the time, people have inherited the property and they don’t know what to do with them, some people live away.

There’s lots of different circumstances that make properties empty.

There are people out there in genuine need of housing… so if you’ve got a property that’s sitting there empty, then you’re not making any money on it, and if it’s going into disrepair you’re going to end up losing money.

– Michelle Collins, United Welsh

How many homes are empty in your area?

  • Blaenau Gwent - 1573
  • Bridgend - 1408
  • Caerphilly - 2729
  • Carmarthenshire - 2646
  • Ceredigion - 1220
  • Swansea - 4054
  • Cardiff - 3223
  • Conwy - 2976
  • Denbighshire - 738
  • Flintshire - 1650
  • Gwynedd - 2216
  • Isle of Anglesey - 840
  • Merthyr Tydfil Council - 1134
  • Monmouthshire - 991
  • Neath Port Talbot - 1546
  • Newport - 2184
  • Pembrokeshire - 2570
  • Powys - 2082
  • Rhondda Cynon Taff - 4195
  • Torfaen - 674
  • Vale of Glamorgan - 770
  • Wrexham - 1609

Source: Freedom of Information requests.

The Welsh Government says that it has an "ambitious" commitment to building 20,000 affordable homes.

We are investing more than £340 million in Rent to Own, Shared Ownership and Help to Buy, three initiatives to help people who are finding it difficult to get on the housing ladder in Wales.

This is a key part of our ambitious commitment to building 20,000 affordable homes during this term of government.

– Welsh Government spokesperson

See more on this in Richard Morgan’s report, tonight on Wales at Six.

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