Oxford is always going to be a sought after destination for academics, but the city is about more than its famous university. It has a reputation that draws people in from all around the world, and recent developments have only seen it increase in popularity. There is a lot to attract people to Oxford and that is reflected in its property market, which may have become more desirable than its rival Cambridge.
Supply and demand are critical features in any market. Oxford has been growing rapidly for several decades now and it is difficult for housing stock to keep pace. There is limited space, which has contributed to a lack of new home builds. This, in turn, means increased competition over the few properties that are available for sale, driving prices ever higher. First time buyers often struggle to raise funds for a deposit, whilst those on low incomes have not seen their wages rise in line with these increased costs. Instead, they turn to rental properties, a sector that has also seen rapid growth.
There is hope. A series of Local Plan reviews are leading to the allocation of land in Cherwell and South Oxfordshire, outside of city boundaries, for the development of new housing, as well as more commercial properties. If this can be carried out well, then it may ease some of the pressure on supply. This is on top of identifying potential sites for new homes within the city, including areas that may not be profitable enough for commercial developers, and making a commitment to council housing, shared ownership and other schemes for more affordable housing.
Part of the reason there are so many problems with supply is that demand has increased so much. Oxford is a leading centre for research, particularly in science and technology. Covid vaccine development is an obvious recent example. This kind of work provides huge motivation for investors. During 2022, of the 273,000 square feet that was bought in Oxford for commercial use, more than 77,500 square feet was for laboratories, with the rest being offices and similar. That is why it is so important that if you are carrying out a home buyers survey Oxford, you need a conveyancer with local knowledge. Firms such as Sam Conveyancing can connect you with local surveyors with specific and detailed understanding of the area.
Traditionally, London is the highlight of the UK’s housing market. In recent years, Britain’s other world-leading university city, Cambridge, may have had the edge on its Oxford rival. The two have often battled each other to top the rankings but now, thanks to its ongoing, ground-breaking innovations in so many fields, Oxford seems to be surging forwards again. Its housing sector is easily competitive with any of the other major markets in the UK and even internationally.
In recent years, the story of Oxford has been of too much demand and not enough supply. With the city continuing to lead the way as a centre of learning and innovation, it seems likely that the need for affordable housing in Oxford will continue to rise. This is why an effort is underway to try and claim areas of neighbouring districts to build both housing and commercial property, in the hope it will ease some of the pressure.