SARAH BROUGHTON

Jazmin Atkins
Oxford and Cambridge - a choice in education
22 MAY 2014


Aspirational parents are no longer automatically looking to London as the obvious choice for their child’s education. With so many excellent independent schools in Oxford and Cambridge within walking distance of some highly-desirable properties, these cities are becoming the first choice for parents who want their children to grow up in tranquil and safe communities with low crime rates.

While Oxbridge universities are world-renowned educational centres, this focus also filters down to a wide number of excellent schools. Increasingly it is schools which are the prime mover for the Oxford and Cambridge property markets. Buyers pay a premium to snap up centrally-located homes so that their offspring can safely walk or cycle to school.

Oxford boasts a range of independent schools from boys’ prep boarding schools such as Cothill House and Summer Fields to co-educational boarding schools such as St Edward’s (also known as Teddies) and the Dragon School. For girls, there is Oxford High School or slightly further afield for boys, Abingdon School and Radley College.

Meanwhile, in Cambridge, there are excellent coeducational prep schools such as St John’s College and King’s, The Leys School and the Perse, which takes boys and girls from the ages of 3 through to 18. Hills Road Sixth Form, a state college, is also very good.

Both housing markets are incredibly competitive and unless you have detailed local knowledge, you can make a costly mistake. Minor intricacies such as which side of the street a house is on can have a huge impact on price, while issues such as having a college or hotel at the end of the road will make a significant difference to the volume of traffic you can expect to endure each day or night.

The quality of accommodation in Oxford and Cambridge is high, with transaction levels at the £1m-plus level rising substantially over the past few years. According to the Land Registry, some 63 £1m-plus homes were sold in Oxford last year, while 191 were sold across the county. In Cambridge there were 153 £1m-plus homes sold in 2012, compared with 251 across Cambridgeshire.

Prime Purchase has specialists based in Oxford and Cambridge so if your home purchase is driven by your schooling needs, we can help.

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