Why Oxford needs homes
High demand and scarce availability mean that Oxford is among the least affordable places for housing in the UK. People on average outcomes are priced out of the housing market and private rents are over 50% higher than for England as a whole.
Whether you’re part of a growing family, a single person living alone or sharing with others, housing is probably the single biggest expenditure you face each month. Buying or renting is a costly business but we are committed to helping more people across the threshold of a home they can afford.
According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), in September 2022 the median house price in Oxford was £445,775 – 12.15 times median gross household earnings (£36,692) in the city. For England as a whole, the median house price is 8.28 times median earnings. The cost of housing in Oxford puts home ownership out of the reach of people in occupations like teaching, nursing, transport and retail.
The 2021 census showed that 32.2% of homes in Oxford are now in the private rented sector, where the ONS reports a median private rent of £1,500 a month for a three-bedroom home. The equivalent amount for England as a whole is £895.
Meanwhile, there are more than 3,000 households on our housing waiting list.
There has long been a shortage of suitable land for building housing in Oxford – in part due to flood plains and the adoption of the first green belt outside London in 1956.
During the development of our Local Plan we identified all the remaining potential sites for housing within our city boundaries. The Local Plan sets out a number of measures outlining where and how we intend to deliver 10,884 new homes in Oxford by 2036. These measures include higher density housing, enabling large employers to build affordable housing for their employees and freeing up homes for families by building more student accommodation.
Most importantly, on developments with more than ten houses, 40% of these will be homes for social rent – council housing – and another 10% will be other forms of affordable housing like shared ownership.
But this is still not enough to meet Oxford’s need for homes. We are working closely and collectively with our neighbouring councils on plans to build 15,000 more new homes as closely to Oxford as possible.