Housing overview

The issues facing the Lancashire housing market have been classified under six broad categories:

  • Dwelling stock by tenure

Each year, figures are published for dwelling stock by tenure. The 2020 results revealed a total stock of 687,080 for the Lancashire-14 area. The vast majority of dwellings, 87.4% were classified as owner occupied or privately rented, which was above the England average of 83.0%. Lancashire has much less accommodation in local authority ownership than the national average. A dwelling is defined as a self contained unit of accommodation: when all the rooms (including the kitchen, bathroom and toilet) are behind a door which only that household can use.

  • Terraced, council tax band A

The amount and the age of terraced property in the lowest council tax band (A) in the county is probably the most fundamental issue regarding Lancashire's dwelling stock. It impacts on overall house prices, vacant dwellings and the quality of the housing stock.

The dwelling stock by council tax band results reveal the high numbers of dwellings in the lowest tax band 'A' that are found in a number of Lancashire authorities, but in particular Burnley and Pendle.   

Table 123 on the Department for Communities and Local Government details the components of change in the local housing market, and the demolition figures show how very few houses are demolished during a financial year.      

The 2011 Census revealed that in Lancashire, household spaces classified as 'terraced' represented 32.7% of the total dwelling stock. In comparison, the England and Wales rate was much lower at 24.7%. Pendle (56.1%) and Hyndburn (52.6%) recorded the highest percentages in England and Wales, whilst Burnley (50.1%), Blackburn with Darwen (45.1%) and Rossendale (43.6%) were in 7th, 12th and 14th places respectively. 

  • Vacant dwelling/homelessness

Vacant dwelling numbers have been on the decline at the national and local levels, but parts of Lancashire continue to record vacancy rates that are well above the England average.  

Notable improvements over recent years appear to have been made in tackling the problem of homelessness in the county and across the country as a whole. The number of Homeless households assessed and owed a duty, in priority need, or living in temporary accommodation has been declining for a number of years in Lancashire, but the Covid-19 pandemic has brought turmoil to this sector. The major increases in numbers of households in temporary accommodation may be seen as a positive outcome, as long as they had previously been placed in one of various categories of homeless.

  • Low house prices

Lancashire has a wide range of reasonably priced housing/apartments in rural and urban locations. Average house prices across much of Lancashire lag those nationally, in some cases by a wide margin however, affordability still remains an issue for many.

The house price article has results by four housing types: detached, semi-detached, terraced, and maisonette/flat. Table 1 highlights the price differentials between the four house types. It is at the less expensive end of the market where the differences between the Lancashire-12 area and the England and Wales results are at their widest. The average price of a terraced property in the Lancashire-12 is under 45% of the national average.

The ratio of median house price to median earnings reveal some wide disparities between Lancashire authorities, but in general terms county house prices are noticeably less than the national average. In certain East Lancashire authorities, the ratios are the lowest in England and Wales.  

  • Popular areas of growth/ housing starts and completions

The yearly housing starts and completions figures have over recent years indicated that Chorley district has recorded significant numbers of new dwellings started and completed  The large Buckshaw Village site in the authority has been the focus for much of the new housing development in the district. More recently, developments in Lancaster district have resulted in substantial starts and completions. 

The City Deal initiative for Lancashire is primarily concentrated on Preston and South Ribble districts. It is still a relatively new initiative but the effects are beginning to be reflected in the housing starts as Preston had the most (750) of all authorities in the Lancashire-14 area in 2018/19. If the initiative reaches its full potential, it will result in new house building numbers that will be far in excess of former yearly averages.  

  • Household projections

Household projection figures indicate a significant increase is expected in the number of single-person households in Lancashire. Life expectancy improvements and the pressures on the traditional family unit mean that a substantial proportion of these additional single-person households will be among the older age groups. 

Please note that the projections are based are past changes, and therefore the significant new growth in Preston and South Ribble as part of City Deal initiative, is likely to mean that the present official household projections will underestimate growth in these two neighbouring authorities. 

Page updated October 2021