• Local authorities will now receive the same reward via the Housing and Planning Delivery Grant for bringing an old terrace-house back to life as building a flat on a new estate.
• An extension of the VAT reduction applicable to the renovation of an empty property (down from 17.5% to 5% after 2 years instead of 3).
• Local authorities are to be “encouraged” to reduce the 50% discount in council tax on empty properties, therefore reducing the financial incentives of owning an empty home.
However, at the same time, the chancellor also said that that councils will no longer have to keep a register of empty homes returned for use, which basically makes a mockery of the first point.
Empty properties attract crime such as fly-tipping, vandalism, arson and squatters. If you live next door to an empty house you can expect it to bring down the price of yours by an average of 18%.