There aren’t enough homes in Lincoln.

The answer is clearly to build more properties – but that, unfortunately for those badly seeking to buy or rent a home in Lincoln, takes a lot of time and massive amounts of money. So, what other solutions are there?

Whilst I am an Estate Agent providing a professional service to those who can afford to be on the property ladder, I also worry about those less fortunate and are affected by the current housing crisis. People have suggested that all the empty properties in Lincoln could be the solution to this problem. On the face of it, it seems so obvious. So, I have recently done some research on this topic, which I want to share with you.

The most recent set of figures from 2022 state there are 1,568 empty homes in the Lincoln Council area.

So, it begs the question, why not put these homes back into the housing system and help ease the Lincoln housing crisis?

Whilst they stand empty, 557 Lincoln families are on the Council House Waiting List for council houses.

Nationally, the picture is remarkably similar with 1,206,376 families on council house waiting lists with 676,304 homes empty.

Surely, we can all agree that property left empty for many years isn’t morally right?

… yet a different story emerges when you look deeper into the numbers.

Every October on one specific day, each local authority must report every property that is empty, even if it’s only been so for a week.

So many of these Lincoln properties are either awaiting new homeowners or, in the case of rental properties, new tenants. Also most certainly, some properties are being refurbished and renovated, some are deceased estates, while other properties have homeowners that have moved out and are in the process of being sold (e.g., a part exchange property).

Of those 1,568 Lincoln homes lying empty, only 430 properties were empty for more than six months.

… and this is where it gets even more interesting.

Many people cite all the empty council houses, yet …

Of the 430 long-term vacant Lincoln properties (those empty more than six months), only 74 belong to the council.

The fact is that the number of genuinely long-term empty properties is only a tiny drop in the ocean of the 42,507 properties in the area covered by Lincoln City Council and, even if every one of those empty homes were filled with tenants tomorrow, it would only meet a small fraction of Lincoln housing needs.

So, what does this mean for all the homeowners and landlords of Lincoln?

This scarcity of available homes contributes to the maintenance of high rents, which presents a favourable situation for Lincoln landlords who are investing in buy-to-let properties.

Simultaneously, it also serves to keep Lincoln house prices at a relatively elevated level.

The implications of this situation are particularly evident in the context of Lincoln’s rental market, where the demand for properties is exceptionally high.

Due to the challenges faced by young individuals in affording homeownership and the financial constraints limiting the construction of new council houses by local authorities, the growth of the rental market becomes an undeniable reality.

Consequently, landlords predominantly focus their investments on the lower end of the housing market, such as starter homes, further fortifying property prices.

This cyclical pattern sustains the entire market as sellers, propelled by the increasing demand, progress up the property ladder, thereby enabling others to purchase homes and continuing the process in a chain-like manner.

These are indeed interesting times in the Lincoln property market!

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