As of September 2016, Oldham has 96,132 households. 93,001 (96.7%) of these are occupied, while 3,131 lie vacant. The borough has an unbalanced housing market, with a low proportion of detached properties and a very high proportion of terraced homes – the highest in Greater Manchester. Oldham has a need for larger family accommodation highlighted by the issues around over-crowding, particularly in South Asian communities. This demand is expected to intensify as time passes.

Housing tenure varies considerably across the borough, with high concentrations of social housing located in more deprived communities. The private rented sector has expanded very quickly across Oldham, as well as nationally, due to house prices rising more quickly than earnings, and a dramatic fall in the number of homes being rented out by local authorities.

While house prices remain low compared to Greater Manchester, regional, and national levels, they still remain unaffordable for many due to low wages and the deposits required. Rising energy prices and energy-inefficient housing also means a high portion of households in Oldham are in fuel poverty.

Housing stock

  • Housing Tenure

Similar to the pattern in Greater Manchester and nationally, the majority of households in Oldham are owner-occupied (65.3%), with smaller percentages of social housing (21.1%) and privately rented stock (12.2%). In Oldham, home ownership is much higher in areas of greater prosperity such as Saddleworth, Crompton, and parts of Royton and Chadderton. In contrast, home ownership is significantly lower in Oldham’s more deprived communities.

As of the 2011 Census, there are around 18,918 socially-rented properties in Oldham, provided by a range of different Housing Associations. The proportion of social housing in Oldham (21.1%) is similar to that across Greater Manchester (21.9%), but is notably higher than levels reported nationally (17.7%). Social housing is distributed across the borough but is most clustered in areas with higher levels of deprivation.

Housing Tenure Table JSNA

  • Overcrowding

The National Housing Strategy recognises that there is national shortage of housing, leading to individuals living in overcrowded conditions or in privately-rented accommodation which does not meet their needs. This is an accurate assessment of Oldham’s position – the 2011 Census identified that 6.6% of households in Oldham are overcrowded compared to 4.6% nationally.

In an attempt to address housing shortages and other infrastructural challenges, several Greater Manchester councils have joined to form the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework (GMSF). This scheme sets out to ensure the supply of high-quality building plots for homes and businesses well into the future; ensuring land is used effectively – though at the cost of a portion of Manchester’s Green Belt. The GMSF aims to allow around 13,500 new houses to be built in Oldham by 2035 on sites such as Broadbent Moss and Beal Valley.

Across Oldham, the distribution of households that are overcrowded is very uneven. The map below shows large concentrations of overcrowded homes located around the outskirts of the town centre, particularly in the wards of Coldhurst, St Mary’s and Werneth.

Overcrowding map

  • Fuel poverty

A household is considered to be fuel poor if its required fuel costs are above average and these costs leave the household with a residual income below the official poverty line. There are three key elements that contribute to fuel poverty: household income, household energy requirements, and fuel prices.

In 2012, the Warm Homes Oldham service was established to reduce fuel poverty across the borough. The scheme aims to improve homes’ energy efficiency and thermal comfort, reduce excess winter deaths and reduce the number of unplanned hospital admissions due to illnesses caused or exacerbated by living in a cold home.

11.8% of household in Oldham are currently considered to be fuel poor. This is slightly higher than the England average of 11.1%.

More information about Warm Homes Oldham can be found here.

  • Homelessness

A household is considered statutorily homeless if a local authority decides that they do not have a legal right to occupy accommodation that is accessible, physically available and which would be reasonable for the household to continue to live in.

One measure of homelessness is the number of households in temporary accommodation. Between April and June 2018 (the most recent data available), the number of households living in temporary accommodation in Oldham was 0.61 per 1000 households. This is lower than the North West average (0.86 per 1000 households) and the England average (3.51 per 1000 households or 1.30 per 1000 households outside London).

A range of data on homelessness can be accessed here.

Further Resources

1. Data on housing tenure and overcrowding is taken from the document Oldham in Profile 2019, which contains further information about housing in Oldham.