Oxford is the ‘least affordable UK city’ to live in, according to the results of a recent study, which found the city to be more expensive than London, Brighton and Cambridge.
The Centre for Cities, the independent think tank that conducted the study, highlighted housing shortages as the major cause of the city’s slump in the affordability rankings, recommending building on green-belt land around the city in order to close the gap between supply and demand for housing stock.
The methodology employed by the study focussed on what the Centre for Cities refers to as an “affordability ratio” – the relationship between average earnings and the average cost of living in an area.
A spokesperson for the Centre for Cities explained that: “The shortage of housing in Oxford has pushed up house prices, forcing residents and workers to spend more of their earnings on housing, or pricing them out of the city altogether.”
A spokesperson for the University of Oxford corroborated the report’s findings, remarking: “The high costs of buying or renting in Oxford make it difficult for the University and its fellow employers to recruit the best possible staff from a range of backgrounds, at a range of salary levels.”
Sian Allen, Local Action Coordinator for the Oxford Hub, commented: “To be honest, I’m not entirely surprised at the findings. It’s clear to anyone who looks closely that whilst we as students live in a ‘bubble’ maintained by our student loans and wealthy colleges, the situation for others living in Oxford is often not so pleasant.
“Something seriously needs to be done to change this status quo. It doesn’t take a genius to work out that in a city where thousands are unable to afford little more than a place to live, even more problems begin to unfold – drug abuse, homelessness and child poverty are all huge issues for our city.”
When contacted by the OxStu, OUSU’s Rent and Accommodation Officer did not respond to a request for comment.