Cambridge v Oxford property race – who’s winning?

Published Nov 7, 2013 – 2 mins read

Oxford V Cambridge – An intense rivalry that exists comes to a crescendo on a variety of issues including which city is best for academic achievement, rowing, celebrity alumni and rich histories. But if you had to choose between them when searching for a home, which one comes out top?

Although Oxford is 15 minutes further away from London by train than Cambridge, its house prices are higher; there are more than 80 homes for sale at the moment within Oxford in the £1m-£5m bracket whilst just 12 are available in Cambridge.

Also, latest official figures show that in July properties bought in Oxford had an average price of £451,900 ranging from £3 million at the top (a detached mansion off the Banbury Road) to £140,000 (for a flat in Headington). 21% of homes in the city were sold for more than £500,000.

In Cambridge, homes bought in July went for an average of £311,880 ranging from £910,000 at the top (a large detached house near the University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory) to £90,000 (for a flat on the northern fringes of Cambridge’s postcodes). Just 11% of homes sold were worth over half a million.

But why the difference? Oxford offers more high quality housing at its centre with a broader range of historical periods, including a large number of Georgian and Regency houses.  Cambridge, on the other hand, has very few premier streets in this price bracket with most buildings within the core owned by the colleges and rarely coming on to the market.

The game, therefore, would seem to be over. However the lack of prime property within Cambridge, coupled with strong demand from affluent buyers working in Cambridge’s thriving high-tech and biological science firms, is pushing prices up. This, on top of many world-acclaimed schools within the city has created somewhat of a frenzy.

For example, a house in a prime Cambridge location recently sold for £200,000 more than its original asking price and in the same month a premier property in Oxford sold for £500,000 less – illustrating where demand is highest.

Other recent transactions in Cambridge have seen some properties selling for more than 70% of their original guide. So it is clear that, while Oxford has more prime homes than Cambridge and has had in the past a more desirable housing market, Cambridge’s booming local economy is helping the city catch up with its famous foe.

Faced with this equilibrium many buyers are resorting to an experienced property buyer to assist with identifying and helping to negotiate the securing of a family home. Contact us for more information on buying property in Cambridge.