When It Happens Panel Get involved: send your photos, videos, news & views by texting 'OXFORD NEWS' to 80360 or email
Oxford tops league for least affordable city to live in
Gary O’Neill, who is selling his six-bedroom home in Lancashire for around £500,000, looks at homes in Jericho where terraced houses sell for a similar price Picture: OX58200 Jon Lewis
OXFORD is the least affordable city to live in the UK, with the average price of a property almost 10 times average earnings.
That’s according to a report by Lloyds TSB, which reveals the average income of an Oxford worker is £31,000, while the average house price is £299,000.
That means the property is 9.66 times the average salary, the highest ratio of any city in the UK including London.
The survey says prices in Oxford are relatively high compared with local earnings partly due to the city’s attractiveness to commuters working in London.
Gary O’Neill recently moved to the city from Lancashire following his divorce and is looking for a property in north Oxford.
His six-bedroom Grade II listed Lancaster home is on the market for £499,950 and he expects to achieve £450,000. But for that price he says he will be lucky to buy a small terraced property in Jericho.
He said: “I expected there to be a north-south divide but I am staggered by how expensive Oxford is.
“My house in Lancaster is late Victorian and built over four floors. A similar property here would be worth millions.”
Mr O’Neill, 54, a former antiques dealer, said: “The economy seems to be very buoyant here compared to the north west, so I suppose I will just have to make more money to afford to live here.”
Values of homes particularly in hotspots such as north Oxford have climbed above peaks last seen in 2007, sparking the return of “gazumping”, where potential buyers try to hijack previously agreed deals on properties, according to agents. Mark Charter, partner at Carter Jonas estate agents in Summertown, said: “We have had three cases of gazumping in the last week.
“In areas of north Oxford prices are way above those seen in 2008 and in general they are back to what they were at their peak.”
Mr Charter’s claims are backed up by figures from the Government’s Land Registry, which show the average price of a property across the county is now £243,284.
That represents a five-year high with values from completed deals increasing by more than three per cent every month in November, December and January.
Mr Charter said a range of factors were pushing up prices, including continual demand for homes from people moving in for work.
Robin Swailes, owner of North Oxford Property Services in Jericho, said: “The market is heating up again and the announcement in the Budget that the Government will give a 20 per cent interest-free loan for buyers of property up to £600,000 could put further upward pressure on prices.”
HOUSE PRICES TO SALARY
1. Oxford, South East, 9.66
2. Salisbury, South West, 8.57
3. Bath, South West, 8.23
4. Truro, South West, 8.15
5. Winchester, South East, 8.04
6. Brighton and Hove, South East, 7.67
7. Cambridge, East Anglia, 7.55
8. Chichester, South East, 7.44
9. Exeter, South West, 7.25
10. St Albans, South East, 7.09