Cambridge trumps Oxford and tops the property league table for average price growth in university markets
With the start of a new university year looming, the city of Cambridge has topped the price growth tables for university property markets, according to new research for Jackson-Stops & Staff. York showed particularly high levels of growth for large, five plus bedroom homes, recording a 29 per cent increase in the last 12 months for this type of property, with Manchester also performing strongly. As well as trumping Oxford in the university league tables, Cambridge has shown double the average price growth of its historic rival, with average prices increasing by 20 per cent in the last 12 months, 10 per cent more than Oxford and 14.3 per cent more than the national average. Canterbury, York and Northampton also performed strongly showing price growth of 16 percent, 11 per cent and ten per cent respectively with a total of 28 towns and cities recording growth in excess of the national average. Other top performing cities include Reading, Bristol, Brighton, Luton, Oxford, Sheffield and Exeter, with average growth for the top ten markets at 15 per cent. Whilst Cambridge outperformed Oxford in terms of average price growth, this was driven largely by detached property values with prices rising 36 per cent from £665,650 to £903,038. Larger properties are attractive to buy-to-let investors, with a guaranteed pipeline of student tenants. However, when assessing other property types, Oxford shows considerably higher growth rates, particularly for flats where it tops the price growth tables with 36 per cent. Jackson-Stops & Staff has more than a century of experience in the prime property market throughout the UK with offices in university cities across the country, including Exeter, London, Chester, Canterbury, Northampton, York and Norwich. Whilst the majority of the top performing towns are in the south of the country, York bucks the trend by recording double digit price growth, sitting above Oxford, Exeter, London and many core areas within the Home Counties. York showed particularly high levels of growth for large, five plus bedroom homes, recording a 29 per cent increase in the last 12 months for this type of property along with Exeter at 27 per cent, Bath at 22 per cent, Bangor at 20 per cent, Chester at 15 percent and Oxford at 14 per cent. Similarly, Canterbury topped the price growth tables for four bedroom homes at 24 per cent with Bangor and Cambridge close behind showing 22 per cent and 19 per cent growth respectively. London remains the most expensive location to buy all types and size of property and so larger homes outside of London and the Home Counties represent strong investment opportunities, with buyers able to cash in on the student rental market within these university towns. Whilst price stagnation and deflation is concentrated in the North of England and Wales, with the average fall for the bottom ten performing markets at -4 per cent, York and Sheffield are two of the top ten performing towns and cities, with Manchester and Scottish university cities also performing strongly. With steady levels of growth in place in some of these larger urban hubs, the north of England and Wales will hopefully see a ripple effect into some of the smaller university centres. Nick Leeming, Chairman of Jackson-Stops & Staff, comments: “Britain is renowned for having some of the best universities in the world, rich in heritage and history, and offering some of the most sought after property stock in the country. It is no coincidence that high levels of price growth correlate with some of the UK’s best universities where there is a strong demand for rental properties for students and this seems to be having beneficial effects on northern cities, such as York, Sheffield and Manchester, which have typically seen slower levels of growth and a more fragile state of recovery following the recession.” Nick Talbot, director of the Jackson-Stops & Staff York office, comments: “In York the main demand for property in the city centre and surrounding suburbs is from families looking for convenience to all of the amenities in the centre of York as well as the fantastic schools. The two top independent schools, St Peter’s School and Bootham School are, are very in demand and are a big driver for property buyers. The university is very popular and has a growing science park which has brought a lot of entrepreneurial business to the city, attracting professionals. We also get quite a lot of interest for more modest properties from parents wishing to buy an investment, the idea being their children can live it in whilst they study but the parents can also use it as a base when they come and visit. They often then choose to hold onto these properties for years to come using it as a bolt hole in York.” Ed Tallack, director of the Jackson-Stops & Staff Exeter office, comments: “Exeter is very much on the map – there has been a huge level of investment in recent years with more to come and people love the fact that it sits between the coast and Dartmoor. The University campus has a fantastic reputation and the lifestyle Devon offers is proving ever popular. We have seen huge price escalation in the city as buyers are realising the value for money and the lifestyle opportunities available here. Properties up to £500k are flying.” Richard Jones, director of the Jackson-Stops & Staff Northampton office, comments: “The terraced house market has improved an awful lot in the last 12-18 months thanks to a general upturn in the market here. An average mid terraced house would have sold for between £125k-£130k 18 months ago and prices are now reaching £155k for a mid terrace property. I think a lot of this is due the general change occurring in the town centre. The station has recently been refurbished with trains to Euston in 50 minutes and there is a brand new bus station as well. In addition, the new university campus is also being built and is due to be complete in 2018. This new campus will be within half a mile of the town and will bring new life and vibrancy to the centre.” Molly Harris of Jackson-Stops & Staff Canterbury, comments: “Canterbury has two universities, Christchurch and the University of Kent. It is a popular and vibrant city with good train links to London. This attracts students from the UK and all over the world and has had an influence on the property market in the area. There is a huge demand for flats and houses waiting to be purchased by buy-to-let investors as well as students who are fortunate enough to have parents who are in a position to help with their accommodation whilst they study. We also have the ‘returners’ who are retired and are coming back to live in the city where they have studied and have happy memories. They typically seek older, more period properties with parking. In the city centre there are some period family homes but they are hard to come by as there is limited space, larger more contemporary family homes are found on the outskirts of the city.” Jock Lloyd-Jones, director of the Jackson-Stops & Staff Newmarket office, comments: “Cambridge prices have risen hard and fast and in my opinion the city has got ahead of itself. We are now facing fundamental problems with infrastructure thanks to over development in the centre - bad traffic, the schools are full and there is colossal pressure on the hospitals. However, now Cambridge has peaked this is good news for the necklace of villages outside of the city where people can find better value for money. The Newmarket to Cambridge corridor is starting to wake up.”