With the Crown Estate sitting on over £800 million worth of empty properties within London, reports expose the scale of the monarch’s property footprint in the city.  However, according to the Crown Estate, these properties are not vacant in the traditional sense as they are either under development, demolished or being let.

A spokesperson for the Estate stated “We operate in effect like a commercial property developer, so it’s quite natural that we’re taking back leases and redeveloping those assets. The majority of the properties in question are vacant or have already been demolished as part of our £1.5bn central London redevelopment programme creating world class office and retail space.”

Online estate agent eMoov reports that three Regent Street meeting rooms, worth nearly £800,000 in total have been vacant for at least 12 years, and a 6,000sq ft space on Air Street, valued at over £6.5m, has been empty since 2007. But this is just the tip of the iceberg – the developer has at least 46 properties that have been vacant since 2012, or longer.

“The country is still in the grip of a housing crisis, whilst an abundance of government owned buildings lie vacant,” states eMoovs chief executive, Russell Quirk, who believes that these vacant properties could be the answer to the capital’s housing crisis.
"The major issue that needs to be addressed is the severe lack of supply that is failing to match the high levels of demand, particularly in the capital."
With the general public unaware of the sheer scale and scope of vacant and potentially available properties on the public sector’s books, we must consider whether this is the answer to property demand.

Read more here.