ANYONE who has ever walked past the window of an estate agent in Oxford will know one thing: its houses are expensive.

Just how expensive has been revealed in new research that shows the city is the least affordable place in the UK.

It is a worrying thought, but one which is not new to Oxford, which is getting more expensive.

Supply and surging demand for housing is at the core of the problem.

The city is one of the country’s most picturesque, and that plays a part in the prices being so high.

The question for Oxford is what can be done about it? That is where the problems arise.

The city is so rich in history, and its honey-coloured buildings so treasured, that any plans to build large numbers of homes raise objections left, right and centre.

The traffic issues of the city also complicate matters because no-one who drives to work in Oxford at the moment could honestly say they want more motorists.

And then there are problems of flooding which themselves make it more difficult to build in certain areas.

The Barton West development is one of many in the pipeline which could address the matter of supply and therefore, potentially, bring prices down.

Projections last week of the 100,000 extra homes that need to be built in the county – including 30,000 in Oxford – suggest that the problem could ease.

But until it does, far too many people will find they are unable to buy even a very small property in Oxford.

And in a city as diverse and interesting as this one, that is not good enough.