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More people are living in 'overcrowded' homes

Official figures reveal there has been a rise in the number of overcrowded homes, providing evidence of a growing housing shortage.Millions of people in the UK are now living in a home with at least five other people, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).The number of people living in households with six or more occupants has risen by 25 per cent in the last ten years, meaning three million people now live in a house with at least five others.According to the ONS, the reasons behind this are economic or cultural factors - for example, more young couples living with their parents because they cannot afford a home or older couples living with their adult children - dubbed the 'sandwich generation'.With the exception of the north-east of England, every region witnessed a growth in the number of such households during the ten-year period.Ten per cent of the households in Newnham, east London, are home to six or more people. Luton, Slough, Bradford, Birmingham and Leicester are the areas outside the capital in which the trend is most pronounced.There was also a decline in owner-occupied housing as the trend for renting property grows and young people are unable to get a foothold on the property ladder.Dan Wilson Craw, spokesman for campaign group Generation Rent, said: "Today's statistics confirm that our broken housing market is creating deep divisions in society - wealthy property owners can afford to leave houses to stand empty, while more people who can't buy are forced to squeeze into overcrowded private renting."According to the figures, the population of England is set to rise by around four million by 2022. The largest rises will be in London and the south-east, where property prices are already rising dramatically.The latest figures come shortly after a government adviser warned that rising property prices could destroy the middle class as people are increasingly unable to afford to buy homes. 

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