The average property in the popular university city of Oxford is £340,864 and now sells for more than 11 times local salaries – that’s twice the national average. Rent costs have risen less dramatically, but they continue to squeeze lower income families who can’t afford to buy property.
James Scott-Lee, managing director of local estate agency Chancellors says that one-bed flats are now fetching around £900 a month, which on their affordability measures means that in order to rent the property, people have to be earning £36,000 at least.
Lloyds found that on average homes in British cities cost 5.8 times the typical local salary, a figure that has risen from 5.6 last year and is substantially above levels common in the 80s and 90s.
Nationally, house prices rose 2.4% in February alone – a month that is usually considered quiet in the housing market. Concern is now growing that the price boom bubble that started in London is now spreading across the south of the UK and even into pockets of the North.
Other cities that were deemed unaffordable in the UK were Winchester in Hampshire, Bath in Somerset and Brighton in Sussex. In all of these cities, people need to get together around eight times their yearly income in order to buy a house.
Dan Wilson Crew, spokesman for PricedOut.org.uk (an organisation that campaigns on behalf of first time buyers) has said the following:
“Home ownership is now a distant dream to many people living and working in cities across the south – and other parts of the country. If these people are to have a chance to get on in life, house prices cannot continue to rise even further.
“We need planning reform to allow growing cities to build the houses they need to accommodate their workers and give us the responsive housing market we desperately need.”
Property experts in Oxford say the price increases are happening because there is simply nowhere to build new homes in the city. Surrounded by a green belt, the north and north-west of the city is a flood plain, now submerged in water. On top of this, the city has two universities, teaching hospitals and commuters who earn London salaries making it a highly competitive market.