Thousands of homes were classed as overcrowded in Bury, figures from the 2021 census show.

A Bury estate agents has said there is a "notable difference" between living conditions in the town as 3,080 homes in the area were judged to be overcrowded- 3.8 per cent of households in the area.

Andrew Cardwell, managing director at borough-based Cardwells Estate Agency, said that the root of the cause is often due to a shortage of affordable homes and families being unable to access suitable and affordable homes. 

Bury Times: Cardwells

He said: “Overcrowding in properties is a real concern, not just in Bury, but all across England.

“The National Housing Federation (NHF) reported in April 2023 that more than 310,000 children are forced to share beds with other family members and approximately one in every six children are forced to live in cramped conditions. 


“The government is aware of the problem and has targeted the building of around 300,000 new properties a year by the mid 2020s, in 20/21 this amount built fell below this level with around 233,000 built. 

“However, research by the NHF and Crisis estimates that 340,000 need to be supplied in England each year, of which 145,000 should be affordable.”

In Bury, 57,350 homes (71.1 per cent) were classed as "under-occupied" – meaning they had rooms to spare.

Andrew said: “The juxtaposition in the Bury census data is that around 71 per cent of properties in our town are classed as 'under occupied', there could be debate about the meaning and interpretation of that classification, but it certainly shows that there is notable difference between the living conditions of many in our town. 

“One of the processes which addresses this issue is what is often referred to as 'The Bedroom Tax', in essence this cuts the Universal Credit Housing Element or Housing Benefit if people are of a working age, classed as having a spare room and are a council or housing association tenant, this may, perhaps, aim to encourage people to look for smaller properties. 

Bury Times: The Rock, BuryThe Rock, Bury (Image: NQ)

“While in the wider private rental sector market there has been changes to the tax system which have effected landlords, and this has resulted in a some landlords selling and stepping away from the business model, this perhaps too, has contributed to a limit in the supply of property.”    

The census data also found that social renters in Bury were most likely to struggle for space, with 7.8 per cent impacted.

Around 1,750 households with dependent children were also recorded as having suffered from a lack of space.

Ben Twomey, chief executive of the campaign group Generation Rent, said a failure to build enough homes and stop "skyrocketing" rents has put private renters in a tricky situation.

"If you have children or are an older renter, being forced into an overcrowded house can be particularly stressful", he added.

London had a far higher rate of overcrowded housing than any other region of England and Wales.

Every one of the top 10 most crowded areas was in the capital, other than Slough, in London's commuter belt.

Both the New Economics Foundation and Generation Rent said building more social homes is the first step to tackling the issue.