The Best Areas of Oxford to
Invest in Buy-to-Let
Oxford’s image as a city of dreaming spires couldn’t be more wrong today! It may be one of the prettiest small cities around – but it is also an economic powerhouse and a global name in education, research and technology. That means Oxford has a fast-expanding population and a hot property market to go with it, making it a highly attractive location for property investment.
Why Invest in Oxford
Oxford has one of the most successful economies in the country, with a bright future ahead of it. A Demos-PwC report says it is the top UK city for economic success and wellbeing.
The universities are, of course, central to Oxford’s success. The University of Oxford is the biggest single employer in Oxfordshire and employs almost 14,000 people alone.
But Oxford is more than just universities: Other important industries are forward-facing, high added-value ones that offer well-paid jobs – such as health, education, research, technology and publishing. The John Radcliffe Hospital is part of one of the largest NHS teaching trusts in the UK and a world-renowned centre of clinical excellence.
Oxford is also the spiritual home of one of the world’s most famous cars! The Mini Plant Oxford at Cowley builds 1,000 Minis a day and is also one of the city’s largest private employers.
Oxford’s population is currently about 155,000. Oxford City Council says that Oxford is undergoing a period of rapid population growth, with the population growing by 15,000 people every decade.
Many people don’t realise that Oxford is a ‘top ten’ UK tourist destination with 526,000 visits a year, making it a perfect location for Airbnb short term letting. The city is packed with cultural sites including Christ Church Oxford, the Ashmolean Museum, Sheldonian Theatre, University of Oxford Botanic Garden, Oxford Castle, Pitt Rivers Museum and nearby Blenheim Palace. Oxford is also known for the famous Inspector Morse TV detective series, as well as being a Harry Potter filming location!
As you might expect, the student accommodation market is a big draw for property investors here. The world-famous University of Oxford plus Oxford Brookes University has 40,000 students who all need student housing.
It’s often said that location, location, location is everything in property investment and Oxford has 'location' on its side. Oxford has great rail and road links being right on the M40, A40, A34 and A44. Even London is just an hour away.
Oxford is set to become even better connected over the next few years: East-West Rail is a new railway line under development which will eventually connect Oxford, Bicester, Milton Keynes, Bedford, Cambridge and communities in between. A new motorway-standard road, the Oxford-Cambridge Expressway, is also being planned which will connect Oxford to the M1.
Oxford property investors should also know about the Government’s proposals for what is being called the CaMKOx Arc. There are massive, ambitious plans for developing the area between Cambridge, Milton Keynes and Oxford which could see several new towns, commercial development, a million new homes and up to 1.9 million more people living in the area by 2050.
Property Values in Oxford
Oxford house prices are some of the highest in the UK. Hometrack says the current Oxford house price is £404,300 – only London and Cambridge are more expensive cities.
That doesn’t mean you can’t find cheap property investments in Oxford though. Rightmove and Zoopla say Oxford flats start at around £140,000.
Oxford has also seen some of the best returns in the country for property investors in recent years. This Oxford Mail report says house prices here have risen 308% over 20 years. But Hometrack says prices have only risen 0.5% over the last year, so now could be the time to find a bargain buy-to-let!
Rental Demand in Oxford
High Oxford property prices are, in some ways, good news for buy to let landlords even if they’re not very good news for home buyers. Lloyds Bank says Oxford is the UK’s least affordable city for buyers, with average prices around 12 times the average income. That means there is a huge demand for Oxford property lettings, so Oxford investors should never be short of tenants.
Looking at the all-important student lettings market now, this report says that there is an impending shortage of housing for Oxford students. This is because the universities are increasing student numbers fast but not building enough new accommodation. Again, all good news for property investors.
While there’s a huge demand for shared housing or rooms in HMOs Oxford City Council does have some restrictions to bear in mind. You’ll need to apply for planning permission (an article 4 direction) to convert a single-family house into an HMO.