Affordable housing has a new face in Oxford following the renaming of Oxford City Council’s housing company, Oxford City Housing Ltd (OCHL).
OCHL is now OX Place.
Its mission remains unchanged.
Set up by the council in 2016, OX Place aims to build more than 2,000 new homes for rent and sale in and around Oxford in the next 10 years. These will include more than 1,100 council homes providing the genuinely affordable housing that Oxford needs.
The new brand launched today will support OX Place’s intention to deliver high quality, design-led and sustainable homes for the people of Oxford.
“We’re a local company working for the people of Oxford. We’re not a big national developer looking to make large margins. We plough profits back into council budgets to help provide genuinely affordable council homes and to invest in essential services.
“Our new name and strapline – homes for living, homes for life – reflect our core values. We want to build desirable, modern, and sustainable homes to the highest standards so more people in Oxford can afford to stay in the city, maybe owning their own home and being part of a community.
“We’re developing a mix of shared ownership homes and some for sale on the open market. We’re also building homes which will be transferred to Oxford City Council and let at genuinely affordable rent to people on the housing waiting list.
“But at the heart of everything is our aspiration to develop Oxford’s brownfield sites – some of which wouldn’t work for larger developers because there isn’t enough money in it for them – to create high quality homes that are genuinely sustainable and affordable.”
OX Place managing director, Helen Horne
“We are proud to launch this new and refreshing brand for OX Place. Investing in high quality housing for our city is a priority and the dedicated team at OX Place will help turn this into a reality.
“Oxford needs homes and Oxford is now getting homes, thanks to OX Place’s plans to build a wide range of housing for shared ownership, open market sale and social rent.
“We want Oxford to remain a desirable place to live, but we also want to address its lack of affordability. OX Place’s plans will make a tangible difference to the options available to local people wanting to live and work in Oxford – now and in the future.”
Councillor Alex Hollingsworth, cabinet member for planning and housing delivery
Creating high quality, modern and sustainable homes is a key priority. And OX Place’s approach to sustainability will also contribute towards the council achieving the goal of being a net zero city. Homes are responsible for 29% of Oxford’s carbon emissions.
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 incomes are priced out of the housing market and private rents are nearly double the average for England as a whole.
According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), in 2021 the median house price in Oxford was £430,000 – 12.32 times median gross household earnings (£34,896) in the city. For England as a whole, the median house price is 9.05 times median earnings.
Half (49.3%) 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 £850.
The cost of housing pushes people into hardship, overcrowded conditions or out of Oxford altogether. Half of Oxford’s workers have to commute into a city they can’t afford to live in.
This leads to growing unaffordability, increased congestion and higher carbon emissions across Oxfordshire, as well as difficulties for employers in recruiting and retaining staff.
The cost of housing means that a third of Oxford’s children live below the poverty line and is a key factor behind poor educational outcomes.