The number of empty homes in Hartlepool has fallen by almost a fifth in the past six years, new research has shown.
Figures obtained by the BBC have uncovered that there were 889 houses lying empty in the town in 2010.
But that number had fallen to 732 by 2016, the equivalent of an 18% drop.
Six years ago the town’s population was 91,773 but that has risen to 92,817 as of last year.
Bosses at Hartlepool Council say the authority is “committed” to reducing the number of empty properties.
The research found 150 councils out of 360 where the number of long-term empty homes increased last year.
A Hartlepool Council spokesman said: “Hartlepool mirrors the national trend of increasing amounts of long-term vacant properties.
“The council is committed to reducing empty properties across the town; with a particular emphasis on residential properties.
“The council has an empty property intervention scheme which seeks to acquire vacant residential properties and to bring them back into use, creating valuable affordable housing for local residents.
“The impact of this intervention is reflected in the decreasing number of long-term vacancies over the last five years:
l 2013/14 = 780 vacant, 105 brought back into use by the Council
l 2014/15 = 762 vacant, 93 brought back into use by the Council
l 2015/16 = 727 vacant, 84 brought back into use by the Council
l 2016/17 = 732 vacant, 109 brought back into use by the Council
“In continuing this intervention, the council is planning on acquiring, refurbishing and letting as affordable housing a further 10 dwellings by the end of September 2018.
“Whilst strategic intervention is crucial, on a day-to-day basis the Housing Standards team undertake critical enforcement work regarding empty properties.
“This continues to be a critical tool in addressing the issue of empty properties.”