Oldham branded hardest place to live in North West

Reporter: Jon Chubb
Date published: 25 February 2019

That’s according to the first ever Liveability Index for 2019, which judged towns on things like housing needs, jobs, wages and the cost of living.

Oldham, despite looking affordable at first sight, came out top of the table with below-average house prices (£148,628 vs £180,697 regional average) and lower rents (£551 a month vs £568 regional average). But lower average earnings of residents (£23,803 vs £25,538 regional average) plus a low employment rate of 67.4% (vs 73.7%) means locals struggle to afford housing costs.

This combines with other pressures for average earners, such as overcrowding in available housing and a challenging local labour market with a job density – a measure of job availability – of only 0.70 (0.81); all of which impedes opportunity scores.

Rochdale came in as the fourth most challenging area to live with Blackburn and Knowsley rounding out the top four.

Commenting on the result of the index, Brian Cronin, CEO of Your Housing Group said: “This important new research reveals the hidden problem areas for average earners in towns and cities across the north west. Importantly, it also shows where we need to see the development of more genuinely affordable homes.

“The large commercial developers are part of the housing crisis, not its solution: they are simply failing to deliver the homes people need at a price they can afford. The attention now needs to focus on alternative providers and I believe housing associations could play a major new role in solving the problem. We are now working on ideas to get new funding into this sector, including from responsible investors like pension funds, and will soon be publishing our findings.


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