Page last updated at 11:46 GMT, Saturday, 21 November 2009

Vacant properties top 100,000 - a four-year high

empty house (generic)
The last time vacancy levels were this high was in 2004

The number of vacant properties in Scotland has soared to a four-year high of 103,000, (4.2% of the total), a Bank of Scotland survey has shown.

The highest number are found in the Western Isles and Argyll and Bute, while North Lanarkshire has the lowest proportion of vacant properties.

The Bank of Scotland said the latest figure is the highest since 2004 when 104,668 empty properties were recorded.

Economist Suren Thiru said high vacancy levels went with high deprivation.

He added: "It is clearly concerning that the number of vacant homes in Scotland has increased recently following several years of decline.

Regional figures

"In many cases, high levels of vacant homes reflect relatively high levels of deprivation and lower than average earnings."

In the Western Isles 1,850 homes were unoccupied - 13.2% of all properties, while in North Lanarkshire just 1.6% of homes lay empty.

In Aberdeen the figure stood at 3.9% and the proportion of vacancies in both Glasgow and Edinburgh was slightly higher at 4.1%.

Dundee was higher still at 7.4%.

The Orkney Isles saw the biggest drop in the number of empty homes. The figure went down from 1,406 in 2003 to 904 in September 2008, when the latest report data was recorded.

A vacant home was classed as either a public or private dwelling which was empty because it was between occupants, undergoing modernisation or was a second home.

Properties unoccupied due to their state of disrepair and those awaiting demolition were also included.



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