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The stars align for buy-to-let investors in Oxford, as Lakesmere Mews sells out in weeks
October 23, 2014Article by Ray Withers
When you work in the property investment sector and focus on buy-to-let investment properties, there are three key factors to look out for: accommodation shortfalls, rising rents and the availability of cheap financing. As an Oxford resident, finding all three of these factors in alignment in my hometown has been a brilliant experience and something that I am keen to share with Property Frontiers’ clients.
Oxford’s housing shortfall
Everyone is used to the problems faced in London when it comes to finding suitable and affordable accommodation close to one’s place of work. By contrast, Oxford is seen by many as a combination of leafy suburbs and ancient city centre architecture, where residents stroll from their home to work, just down the road.
In recent years however, this sadly could not be further from the truth. Just like London, Oxford has a massive shortfall of affordable housing. Some 45,000 people commute into the city on a daily basis, often due to an inability to afford accommodation close to their place of work. Traffic congestion is common and house shares include professionals well into their 30s.
Restrictive housing policies, designed to protect the city’s heritage, and large swathes of greenbelt land are two of the reasons for Oxford’s drastic shortfall. While it is fantastic to see such protective policies in place, they do exacerbate the housing problems faced by many of those who want to live and buy in Oxford.
Instead, many young professionals are forced to rent, having been completely priced out of the market. The lack of new affordable accommodation being built in Oxford has seen rents rise to an average of £1,935 pcm, according to Zoopla.
Any properties that do come online are snapped up incredibly fast. Property Frontiers recently had the opportunity to sell the Lakesmere Mews development of buy-to-let apartments. All 22 apartments sold in a matter of weeks, making this our fastest-selling opportunity so far in 2014.
Oxford’s buy-to-let investors are enjoying capital growth as well, with Savills’ recent report on prime residential markets stating,
“By contrast prime urban markets such as Oxford, Cambridge and Bath have continued to perform relatively well, as demand for prime urban living continues to spread beyond London. In these markets, prices rose by an average of 1.2% in the quarter, bringing annual price rises to 7.4%.”
Access to London is another factor behind Oxford’s housing shortfall, with many of those who work in the capital choosing to commute from Oxford. They are able to get more for their money in terms of accommodation than they could in London, making the cost of the commute well worthwhile. Oxford’s proximity to a number of top private schools also comes into play.
A golden opportunity
All of this adds up to create a golden opportunity for those looking to invest in buy-to-let accommodation in a demand-led market such as Oxford with the scope for both capital gains and strong monthly yields.
Though we have sold out of properties at Lakesmere Mews, I’m certainly not done with Oxford as a place to source further leading buy-to-let investment opportunities. Watch this space for further details!