Friday lunchtime lecture: Empty homes and house prices: is there a relationship?

Friday 24 November 2017, 1:00pm - 1:00pm

Open Data Institute, 65 Clifton Street, London EC2A 4JE

Friday lunchtime lectures are for everyone and are free to attend. You bring your lunch, we provide tea and coffee, an interesting talk, and enough time to get back to your desk.


House prices are a popular topic of conversation in the UK.

Less popular is the rate the prices are increasing. The UK average house price has increased 30% since the 2008 crash, and London house prices have gone up 75%, according to the Land Registry House price index from September 2008 to September 2017. In London, price increases are often blamed on empty homes bought as investments by rich foreigners. Areas such as Cornwall and the Lake District blame price increases on holiday homes bought by rich Londoners. However, there is very little data supporting or against these beliefs.

Jonathan Bourne spent a year sending Freedom of Information requests to gather a dataset from over 100 local authorities. He was interested in data on 'low use properties', which are domestic properties that contain no full-time resident. The data covers 22 million people and 330,000 low-use properties. The data shows a clear relationship between price and low-use properties.

In this talk, Jonathan will discuss his findings, showing how London is affected in the same way as the rest of the country and that building more houses may not help solve the problem of high prices. He will also describe how he got the data and what he learned about the Freedom of Information Act.

Jonathan Bourne is a data scientist who previously worked in the energy industry and is currently studying for a PhD in Complex Networks at University College London. When he has the time, he blogs on SomeSquaredError.


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Live stream

If you’re unable to attend this lunchtime lecture you don’t need to miss out. You can watch the talk via a live stream here.


About our Friday lunchtime lectures

With a broad range of topics in open data such as tracking government expenditure, British landscape mapping and creating art, there’s bound to be something that interests you.

The sessions run from 1pm to 1.45pm weekly during UK school term-times, with informal networking until 2pm. Each lecture lasts for around 20 minutes, leaving time for questions afterwards. The lectures don't require any specialist knowledge, but are focused around communicating the meaning and impact of open data in all areas of life.

Each week the lectures are streamed live on YouTube and then uploaded to our YouTube and Vimeo channels. You can also download the Friday lunchtime lectures as a podcast on iTunes.

You can follow the lectures and contribute to the discussion using #ODIFridays on Twitter