London, April 21 (IANS) More than 200,000 homes in England with a total value of 43 billion pounds ($55 billion) were empty for at least six months in 2016 despite the desperate shortage of properties to rent and buy, the media reported.
According to official figures issued on Thursday, Birmingham was the worst affected city outside London with 4,397 empty homes worth an estimated 956 million pounds, followed by Bradford and Liverpool, the Guardian reported.
London's royal borough of Kensington and Chelsea had 1,399 empty homes worth 664 million pounds, compared with second-placed Croydon, which had 1,216 empty homes worth 577 million pounds.
Across London, there were 19,845 homes sitting idle for over six months in 2016, which amounted to 9.4 billion pounds worth of property, based on the average price in London of 474,704 pounds.
Councils and the government have worked to cut the number of empty homes, primarily by reducing tax incentives which encouraged owners to leave properties unused.
While Birmingham recorded a 13 per cent jump in empty properties in the last year and Liverpool suffered a 5 per cent rise to 3,449, Manchester registered the greatest fall over a decade, dropping 88 per cent to 1,365, reports the Guardian.
UK-based property crowd-funding platform, Property Partner, said a large drop in the number of empty homes across England from 2006 stalled in 2015.
The figures for 2016 showed little progress.