Oxford is a busy city with its population in a constant state of flux. Many people have lived in the city for decades, and are permanent residents. However, there is also a large student population that live in the city for only a few years. The population in 2011 was 151,600. The universities have 21,500 students. However, there are also a lot of other colleges and language schools in the city. The council believes that up to 26 per cent of the city’s working age citizens are students.
Demand is outstripping supply
In the past decade, the city’s population has soared, but the building of new homes has not kept pace. This is creating a situation in which Oxford letting agents are struggling to find housing that meets everyone’s needs. Property owners are aware that they have the upper hand, so the cost of rents are higher than average.
According to one way of measuring the cost of rent, Oxford has the highest rents in the country, outside of London. This also applies to the cost of buying property. Oxford is the most expensive place, in the UK, to buy a home outside of the capital. For Oxford letting agents and estate agents, finding property their clients can afford to buy or rent is getting more challenging by the day.
The future for Oxford’s housing market
Unfortunately, this problem is not expected to get any better in the near future. However, the council has plans to change this over the long term. Their Core Strategy Policy CS24 states that 50 per cent of new property to be built in the city should be affordable housing. They have worked out that sites that are only big enough for ten houses can still be financially viable with 50 per cent of the property being built as affordable housing. The city’s high property price makes this possible.