Propertymark has expressed hope that the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill will help boost much needed agency supply.
The trade body has taken some credit for measures in the proposed legislation announced in last week’s Queen’s Speech.
They will also be allowed to charge the owners of second homes and others deemed to be ‘occupied periodically’ a 100% premium.
The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities says there are 653,000 vacant dwellings in England, 237,300 of those are classed as long-term empty.
That could create a lock of stock that agents could help sell or rent.
Meanwhile, last year overall housing stock rose by 216,000 — well short of the UK Government’s target of delivering 300,000 additional homes every year by the mid-2020s.
Propertymark called for action to bolster much-needed supply in a letter to Housing Secretary Michael Gove in February.
The organisation’s most recent Housing Market Report shows an average of 34 house hunters registered at its member branches for every property they have listed.
Timothy Douglas, head of policy and campaigns for Propertymark, said: “There is a housing shortage so it’s right that more is done to disincentivise people from simply doing nothing with their property, or not using it to its full potential.
“To see action on empty homes included in this flagship Bill is a welcome acknowledgement from the UK Government that this issue is working its way up the agenda.
“Our member agents continue to see historically low numbers of homes coming onto the market for sale or rent in the face of rising demand, so when this Bill becomes law we hope councils do not hesitate to act.”