With an estimated 100 million people currently homeless around the world, the fact there are millions of homes around the world lying empty is even more shocking. To find out which countries are the worst offenders when it comes to leaving properties vacant, U.K.-based mortgage firm money.co.uk analyzed OECD data to reveal the countries where empty properties make up the biggest proportion of the total housing.
The top 20 countries with the most empty homes:
|Rank||Country||Total homes||Vacant homes||Vacant homes (% of total homes)|
The report by mortgage editor Nisha Vaidya says the country with the most vacant homes in the world is Japan, with 13.6 per cent of all homes in the country empty. An aging population and a decline in birth rate mean that Japan’s population is currently declining and therefore housing demand is falling. A second-home tax may also be putting people off inheriting any relatives’ properties, due to hefty fees, says Vaidya.
Coming in second is Cyprus, home to 56,851 empty dwellings, which accounts for one in eight homes on the Mediterranean island. Many of the empty homes are located in the “ghost town” of Varosha, a previous tourist hotspot that has since been abandoned after the country was invaded in 1974, says Vaidya.
Another country with a high level of empty homes is Hungary, where 12.3 per cent of properties are currently unoccupied. Like Japan, Hungary has both an aging and declining population.
The study also looked at the countries with the most empty homes compared to the homeless population.
The top 10 countries with the most empty homes compared to homeless population:
|Rank||Country||Number of homeless||Vacant homes||Vacant homes needed to house homeless population|
Given that Japan had the highest percentage of empty homes, it’s not surprising to see that it’s also the country that could rehome its homeless population the quickest, says the report. Japan has a small homeless population (3,992) in comparison to its overall population (>126 million), meaning that just 0.05 per cent of its empty homes would be needed to house every homeless person in the country.