More than 200,000 homes in England with a total value of £43bn were empty for at least six months during 2016 despite the desperate shortage of properties to rent and buy.
According to official figures, Birmingham was the worst affected city outside London with 4,397 empty homes worth an estimated £956m, followed by Bradford and Liverpool.
The wealthy borough of Kensington and Chelsea was the worst performer in London as super-rich owners rejected renting them out or selling up in favour of leaving their properties lying idle.
The royal borough had 1,399 empty homes worth £664m, compared with second-placed Croydon, which had 1,216 empty homes worth £577m.
Across London there were 19,845 homes sitting idle for over six months in 2016, which amounted to £9.4bn worth of property, based on the average price in London of £474,704.
In response squatters groups have sought to occupy empty homes, with one group in January taking over a £15m central London property purchased by a Russian oligarch in 2014 to open it as a homeless shelter.