The Halifax empty homes report, which includes all private and public empty homes including those vacant for less than six months, jumped from 650,127 in April 2010 to 662,105 in the same period this year.
The number of long term private homes in England has however fallen to 292,313 its lowest level since 2008.
Stephen Noakes, mortgage director at Halifax, said: “This research further demonstrates the significant impacts that empty homes have on the housing market and it is clear that action is necessary.
“Long-term empty homes account for about 1.6% of all private homes in England. And at a time when first-time buyers are still facing numerous obstacles to getting on the ladder, it is imperative we look further at the issue as an industry.”
Martin Ellis, housing economist at Halifax, added: “Whilst it is encouraging that the number of private homes in England that have been empty for at least six months has declined over the last few years it is still at a high level particularly in the context of the country’s ongoing housing shortage.
“Locally the existence of empty homes remains a particular problem in a number of areas especially in the North West. In some cases the proportion of empty homes is more than double the national average.”
The North West had the highest number of long term empty homes at 63,696, accounting for nearly a quarter of the total across England.
A long term empty home is a property vacant for more than six months.