Empty or derelict commercial properties on the high street are growing, according to 58% of people.

Two thirds (67%) of UK adults would like to see the government do more to incentivise people to buy and renovate empty properties, research from Market Financial Solutions has found.

Paresh Raja, chief executive of MFS, said: “Our research shines a light on a crucial societal issue: the prevalence of empty and derelict properties across the UK. Given the country’s longstanding housing shortage, it is an issue that the Housing Minister Lee Rowley – the 16th person to hold the role in the past 13 years – must put high on their priority list.

“Clearly, most Britons would like to see more proactive government action to ensure derelict properties are renovated and put back onto the market. However, it is essential to acknowledge that the responsibility should not rest solely on the shoulders of the public sector.

“The private sector can – and must – significantly contribute to resolving this challenge as well. Whether it is financing the acquisition of properties at auctions or funding the renovations required to bring these buildings up to scratch, lenders, developers and investors have an important role to play in transforming abandoned properties and, in doing so, boosting the UK’s housing stock.”

Half (51%) of people are in favour of new rules to make landlords sell properties (residential or commercial) if they have been empty for more than 12 months.

What is more, more than three in five (63%) respondents believe that putting empty buildings back onto the property market would be the most effective way of solving the UK’s housing shortage.