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3,885 Long Term Empty Homes Could Help Meet Local Housing Need

22nd March 2024

Bringing long term empty homes back into occupancy would help meet Hertfordshire’s local housing need, and it would also help protect the countryside from unnecessary development.

The latest data reveals there are 3,885 long-term empty, unused houses across Hertfordshire. While this is slightly less than a year ago, it’s still a lot of unoccupied dwellings.

The charity Action on Empty Homes has analysed government data released by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities on 8 November 2023.

And the figures on empty homes in our county are eye-catching. Total housing stock across all ten districts in Hertfordshire stands at 514,120. The district with the most long term empty homes is Hertsmere. With 541 vacant homes, that’s 1.2% of the total housing stock of 45,759 in Hertsmere Borough. Dacorum Borough also has more than 500 long term empty homes. And four other districts – East Hertfordshire, North Hertfordshire, Watford, and Welwyn Hatfield – each have more than 400 long term empty homes.

Our most recent brownfield research shows there is space for at least 20,680 dwellings on previously developed land in Hertfordshire. Add the empty homes data to this, and it appears that nearly 25,000 dwellings could be redeveloped or otherwise occupied before needing to build any new development on greenfield sites in the precious Hertfordshire countryside.

Here at CPRE Hertfordshire we have long been calling on our local authorities for ‘brownfield first’ policies in order to save the countryside from inappropriate development. This should include bringing empty homes back into occupancy as soon as possible.

The data by district is shown below.


Local authority

Total homes Long Term Empty (LTE)  


Broxbourne 42,031 242 0.6 %
Dacorum 67,403 502 0.7 %
East Herts 66,680 461 0.7 %
Hertsmere 45,759 541 1.2 %
North Hertfordshire 59,495 440 0.7 %
St Albans City & District 62,907 358 0.6 %
Stevenage 38,213 263 0.7 %
Three Rivers 38,771 229 0.6 %
Watford 42,491 422 1.0 %
Welwyn Hatfield 50,370 427 0.8 %
Total 514,120 3,885 0.8 %


Source: Action on Empty homes; ‘long term empty’ is defined as 6 months or greater, and excludes second homes and holiday lets

CPRE Hertfordshire campaigns to protect the countryside for everyone. Please sign up below for our newsletter to stay up to date with all of our work, or help the countryside even more by volunteering or becoming a member.

empty homes a brick townhouse with a blue front door
Max Williams / Unsplash