THE number of long-term vacant homes across the area has been slashed by more than 35 per cent since 2010 – new figures have revealed.

But 2,000 houses across south Hampshire had been left empty for over six months or more as of 2016.

More than 550 were in Southampton – higher than any of the six neighbouring local authority areas.

However the figures, from the BBC’s new data hub, show a 25 per cent drop in empty homes in the city since 2010, when there 776 recorded.

Cabinet member for sustainable living, councillor Hammond, said he believed the reduction stemmed from changes to taxation.

He added: "I also think Southampton is a more desirable place to live now and it doesn't make sense to have an empty home.

"Those places are now being sold or rented because there is more incentive to do so."

Neighbouring Test Valley was one of the best performing areas in the country.

In 2016, the borough had just 110 long term empty homes – 67 per cent less than in 2010.

With more than 122,000 living in Test Valley, the area ranked in the bottom 10 for empty homes per population.

According to the figures, the borough had just nine vacant houses per 10,000 people.

There were also large drops in the number of empty homes in Eastleigh and Winchester.

Both areas had seen their figure drop by more than 30 per cent in the last six years.

But a spokesperson for Winchester City Council said the authority was expecting further reductions for 2017.

The authority said it had been working hard with landlords of empty properties in the city since the launch of its Empty Homes Strategy last year.

Figures for Fareham and Gosport had drops of 34 and 41 per cent respectively between 2010 and 2016.

The New Forest also saw a 22 per cent drop in the number of empty homes over the last six years, but a six per cent increase between 2015 and 2016.


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