The 'City of Dreaming Spires' has become the stuff of dreams for many homebuyers looking for a slice of something quintessentially British, and with its surrounding beautiful countryside, chocolate-box villages and outstanding educational institutions, it’s easy to understand why

Damian Gray

Regional Partner, Oxford Office damian.gray@knightfrank.com

Oxford is a wonderful place to live. Thanks to its rich cultural heritage, exceptional range of state and private schooling and nearby countryside, it draws a wide circle of buyers from not just the UK, but around the world.

Oxfordshire is an extraordinary county: steeped in history, a world-famous city centre, surrounded by some of the most beautiful countryside in the UK, and all this just under an hour from London. The county is highly sought after due to its internationally renowned schooling, home to the oldest English-speaking university in the world. Stretching from the Chilterns in the south to the Cotswolds to the north and west, with the River Thames and Thames Valley to the south west, Oxfordshire encompasses a number of picture-perfect villages such as Woodstock, Burford, Chipping Norton and Witney. When it comes to the city itself, many are drawn to the university colleges, hospitals and science parks in the knowledge that their children will be able to access world-class educational facilities on their doorstep.

London is an hour by car and with two mainline rail stations to Paddington and Marylebone, it offers the commuter a range of options. In addition, Heathrow and Gatwick airports are just an hour away by car or rail. Being one of the smaller cities in the UK with a population of circa 150,000, available housing stock is always fairly limited. The city offers mostly Victorian and Edwardian homes with a smaller but increasing number of new builds. In the surrounding villages, the choice is eclectic, ranging from Cotswold stone farmhouses to period cottages. Activity levels are high and have indicated that buyers are keen to resume their house hunting and pick up from where they left off in March. We have agreed a number of sales that show that the market in Oxford is proving yet again to be resilient in spite of an economic downturn.

Oxford in numbers

The average price of a property sold by Knight Frank in Oxford (2020)


How old are buyers in Oxford?

(13 May to 31 Dec 2020 vs 5-year ave.)

Known as the ‘City of Dreaming Spires’, Oxford is perhaps one of England’s most quintessential ancient cities, surrounded by picture-postcard villages.

Steeped in history that’s closely intertwined with the city's beautiful university colleges, Oxford has a unique atmospheric blend of culture, academia, architectural styles and modern vibrancy. If you can get past the many galleries and museums, including the Ashmolean (art and archaeology), Pitt Rivers (archaeology and ethnography), Modern Art Oxford and Oxford University Museum of Natural History, then Oxford’s eclectic selection of shops make it a strong home for all tastes. For major high street names, head to Queen Street, Cornmarket Street and Westgate Shopping Centre, while plenty of individual boutiques are tucked away down Oxford’s labyrinth of cobbled side streets. On the other hand, nearby Cotswold villages such as Burford and Woodstock offer unique shopping and dining experiences of their own, filled with unusual shops and mouth-watering cafes and pubs. Allow a day to explore Burford Garden Company, home to a smorgasbord of interiors, art, gifts, plants and food halls. Just outside of Chipping Norton you’ll find Soho Farmhouse, the countryside branch of Soho House’s chain of exclusive members’ clubs, offering everything from eateries to accommodation, a spa, pool and gym facilities.

Who lives here?

Oxford is very much a beacon of Britishness to international buyers, as Knight Frank data suggests, with a large proportion of buyers working in professional industries.

Where buyers move from? (2017-2020)

What are Knight Frank buyers' professions?

Where buyers move from? (2017-2020)

What are Knight Frank buyers' professions?

Active living forms the cornerstone for most lifestyles in Oxford, with the River Thames playing a significant role in many of them.

Despite its cosmopolitan atmosphere, Oxford is surrounded by the pastoral countryside of Oxfordshire, encompassing parts of the magnificent Cotswolds. Prime walking country is on your doorstep, just moments from the centre, while the city offers plenty of active and outdoorsy delights of its own. Bisected by the River Thames, water sports are a big part of Oxford’s heritage, including, of course, its university rowing team. However, you don’t have to be a student to get involved, with the City of Oxford rowing club offering courses for all ages and abilities. If you’re after more of a gentle trip down the river, head to one of the many boat houses and hire a punt for the day, one of the most traditional and relaxing (perhaps less so for the punter) ways to see the Thames.

It's hard to detach Oxford from its world-famous educational institutions – and for good reason.

Education is at the very heart of the city of Oxford. While the university buildings are the cornerstones of the cityscape, earlier education is also outstanding throughout the city and the wider county of Oxfordshire, including esteemed schools such as Magdalen College School, Oxford High School GDST, d’Overbroeck’s, St Edward’s, Abingdon School and Wychwood School for girls. Oxford and its surrounding areas are also a great base if you need to commute to London regularly but are looking for city life on a smaller scale or a rural retreat. Trains run regularly from Oxford and Didcot Parkway, taking around 55 and 45 minutes respectively to reach London Paddington. There are also regular train services operating between London Marylebone from Haddenham & Thame, Charlbury, Kingham, Bicester and Banbury. Alternatively, the Oxford Tube bus to London runs from the city centre every 15 minutes and takes around 100 minutes approximately. Heathrow and Gatwick airports are just an hour away by car or rail, while London Oxford operates domestic, chartered and private flights.

What can you get for your money in Oxford?

The Quail House, OX7

Guide Price: £800,000

3 bedrooms | 2 bathrooms 1 reception room


Kiftsgate House, OX25

Guide Price: £1,500,000

4 bedrooms | 3 bathrooms 3 reception rooms


The Deanery, OX18

Guide Price: £3,450,000

7 bedrooms | 6 bathrooms 6 reception rooms


All property has been sold by Knight Frank within the past 12 months. The guide prices shown are representative of their appraised pricing and not their final sale price.

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274 Banbury Rd, Summertown, Oxford, OX2 7DY +44 (0) 1865 988 921