Every year, Oxford makes it to the top 3 of least affordable cities in the UK. In 2016, we top the list again, putting London and Winchester behind us. It is reported that in 2016, house prices in Oxford is 11 times the average income for the city. Not assisting the situation is the rental market which is a rip off and increasingly becoming insecure. Social housing is also becoming a thing of the past. The thing is, there is enough houses to go around. The problem is how it’s distributed. From being a place to live in, houses have become financial assets of the wealthy few that gets to dominate the market, making it more and more inaccessible to the rest of us.
However, because of this housing crisis, there are those out there who are taking actions to make positive changes. In Oxford, community-led housing group, Homes for Oxford, aims to focus on ensuring the maximum proportion of permanently and genuinely affordable homes is delivered. Architecture and design co-operative, Transition by Design, organises a housing events called House of the Commons to bring together citizens, activists, and housing professionals to pick out the housing crisis in the hope to find creative solutions. Recently, a group of friends who wish to take control of their housing situation set up Kindling Housing Co-op, which became the first housing co-operative set up in the last 15 years. Oxford also has a grass-roots action group, Oxford Housing Crisis Group, which aims to bridge the divide between people and their housing need through outreach work to local communities in conjunction with collaboration with local authorities.
It’s because of these positive actions that Oxford Fairer Housing Network was born. We hope to bring together groups, organisations, activists and housing professionals in Oxford together to build effective collaboration, and fight for fairer housing together.
Housing – the facts
- House prices are 11 times the average wage in 2016;
- “Affordable” housing projects are not genuinely affordable by the masses;
- Rent increases by 3% per year, and together with increasing letting fees, the rental market is becoming more insecure;
- Oxfordshire County Council decided to cut funding to 2 major homeless shelters, causing the centres who provide beds for 286 rough sleepers to shut down;
- Sustainable growth over the last 100 years have not happened in Oxford, causing land shortage and a dire land value problem.