Daily Express

8,000 homes worth £ 2bn ly­ing empty

- By Sarah O’Grady So­cial Af­fairs Cor­re­spon­dent

PROP­ERTY worth al­most £ 2bil­lion is go­ing un­claimed be­cause many sin­gle peo­ple do not make a will.

Rang­ing from tiny ter­races to sprawl­ing man­sions, there are 7,991 such es­tates worth an av­er­age of £ 218,300 each.

It to­tal, £ 1.7bil­lion of homes are ly­ing va­cant across Eng­land and Wales.

De­vel­oper StripeHome­s says an es­ti­mated 30 per cent of all un­claimed es­tates – worth a to­tal £ 516mil­lion – are in hot spot Lon­don.

The 1,079 places have an av­er­age price of £ 479,018.

The South- east has 18 per cent of the limbo port­fo­lio val­ued at £ 310.7mil­lion, the equiv­a­lent value of 957 av­er­age prop­er­ties.

The East of Eng­land, York­shire and the Hum­ber and South- west are also home to large lev­els – the value of which would buy up to 812 typ­i­cally priced places. Any­one want­ing to claim one can check the Gov­ern­ment’s reg­is­ter for aban­doned lega­cies worth more than £ 500. It is ad­min­is­tered by the Bon Va­can­tia – Latin for un­claimed prop­erty – le­gal sec­tion.

Any blood rel­a­tive or spouse could be en­ti­tled to a share though they will need birth or mar­riage cer­tifi­cates.

Ap­pli­cants will only dis­cover the prop­erty’s worth if suc­cess­ful – es­tates are handed over to the Trea­sury af­ter 30 years oth­er­wise.

James For­rester, of StripeHome­s, said: “While pro­ce­dures need to be fol­lowed, 30 years seems a very long time to leave an es­tate lin­ger­ing in limbo when it could be con­tribut­ing pos­i­tively to the cur­rent hous­ing cri­sis.

“The ma­jor­ity are lo­cated in Lon­don where the short­age of hous­ing is prob­a­bly at its worst.”

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