EMPTY HOMES

2014 CHARTS

 



 
 

 

 

 

Council tax statistics for September 2014 show that the number of dwellings on council tax valuation lists in England was 23,466 million. There were almost 520,000 dwellings exempt from council tax and nearly two thousand demolished buildings. This left 22,944 million dwellings on valuation lists liable to council tax.

This page shows a number of charts regarding council tax statistics that were published in September 2014.

Chart 1 shows the distribution of dwellings liable for council tax between the eight council tax valuation bands.  Of the nearly 23million dwellings liable for council tax the vast majority were in the lower valuation brackets. Twenty four percent were in band A, 20% in band B, 22% in band C, and 15% in band D. Taken together the lowest four brackets contained 81% of all dwellings. The four highest bands combined therefore contained only 19% of homes and band H, the highest band, contained only 1% of homes.

Council tax statistics for September 2014 show that there were 460,880 empty dwellings in England, which represents 2% of the total properties liable for council tax. These empty dwellings were mainly in the lower valuation bands especially band A, which is the lowest band.

Chart 2 gives a breakdown of empty dwellings by council tax band. The majority of empty properties were in the lower brackets. Forty one percent of empty homes were in the lowest band, 20% were in band B, 16% in band C and 10% in band D. Eighty seven percent of empty properties were in the lowest four bands. The top four bands combined therefore contained only 13% of empty homes and band H, the highest band accounts for only 1% of the total empty homes.

Of the nearly 461,000 empty homes in England less than three and a half thousand were in the most expensive bracket. However there were around 190 thousand empty homes in the least expensive bracket. This means that there were well over fifty times as many empty homes in the lowest band as in the highest band. Contrary to much of the publicity surrounding empty homes they are not characteristic of high value homes but of low value dwellings.

Central government legislation has made it possible for local authorities in England to impose a council tax premium on long term empty homes - homes that had been empty for two years or more. Council tax statics for September 2014 shows that roughly 56 thousand long term empty dwellings in England were subject to a premium. This represents around 12% of all empty homes, including those empty for less than two years.

Chart 3 shows that almost half of the properties subject to a premium were in band A. The majority of properties subject to a council tax premium were in the lower bands. Almost half were in band A, 19% were in band B, 13% in band C, and 8% in band D. Nearly 90% of homes subject to a premium were in the lowest four valuation bands. Only 11% of dwellings subject to premium were in highest four bands.

In numerical terms, 50 thousand of the properties to which the premium was applied were in the lowest 4 bands and only six thousand were in the highest four bands. Twenty seven thousand properties in band A were subject to a premium compared with less than five hundred in band H. Around 57 times more of the least valuable properties were subject to a premium as the most valuable. For every band H home subject to a premium there were 57 band A homes.

The taxation of empty dwellings including right to charge the council tax premium has been broadly welcomed as progressive. One of the reasons for introducing the premium was to encourage empty home owners to bring their properties into productive use. Whatever the intentions, the effect has been to obtain more tax from low value dwellings. The reforms have had the effect of making a regressive tax even more regressive. What was really needed was a complete overhaul of council tax or preferably the introduction of an ad valoram system of property taxation.

The 2013 reforms meant that, at local authority discretion, empty homes could be treated in one of three different ways as far as council tax was concerned. They could be subject to a discount, or if they had been empty for two years or more they could be subject to a premium, or they could be subject to neither discount nor premium.

Chart 5 shows the number of properties liable for council tax in each band expressed as a percentage of the total number of properties liable for council tax, as well as the corresponding percentages of empty dwellings and dwellings liable for a council tax premium.

The most notable finding here is the overrepresentation of band A properties among those subject to a premium. There are as nearly as many band A properties subject to a premium as all the other bands put together. This cannot be explained in terms of the fact that there are more band A dwellings: only a quarter of dwellings are in band A, yet 41% of empty dwellings are in band A and nearly a half of those subject to a premium are in band A.

Chart 6 expresses the number of dwellings, empty dwellings and dwellings subject to a premium as a percentage of the total number of dwellings in each category. The chart shows the overrepresentation of each category in the lower bands. But the most salient results are for band A. This band contains 24% of dwellings liable for council tax and 41% of empty dwellings. But nearly half of all empty homes subject to a premium are in this band.

 



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Chart 4 dwellings and empty dwellings in each council tax band as percentage of total.

 

dwellings and empty dwellings % of total

 

 

 

 

council tax bands A t H as percentage of totals

chart 5 council tax bands A to H as percentage of totals.

 

 

 

chart 6 council tax bands A to H as percentage of totals.