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frustratedbuyer

Gazumped In Both Oxford And Cambridge!

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We started looking in Oxford at the beginning of the year. We found a place, offered, raised the offer and then had to withdraw as the other buyer offered more and above what we could afford. The estate agent was rude and obstructive and we don't know if our offers were ever passed on. After this disappointment, there was nothing we could afford with our budget so we started looking in Cambridge. Found a house, offered very close to asking price but there was high competition and after bidding process, the property sold for at least 20,000 over asking price!

We are still looking, and from what we have gathered, Oxford is now flooded by ex rentals at crazy prices and Cambridge has slightly lower prices but still quite high due to scarcity of decent properties up for sale.

I should explain that both properties we offered on required complete update. We are a normal family whose income has been hit by the recession and who cannot afford to pay unrealistic prices and still have to spend money to do up the house. Are we supposed to pay top prices for wrecks?

Are Oxford and Cambridge in some parallel universe immune to the recession? The irony is that we left London and now London properties are cheaper than the ones in Ox and Cam

Grumpy gazumped buyer

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We started looking in Oxford at the beginning of the year. We found a place, offered, raised the offer and then had to withdraw as the other buyer offered more and above what we could afford. The estate agent was rude and obstructive and we don't know if our offers were ever passed on. After this disappointment, there was nothing we could afford with our budget so we started looking in Cambridge. Found a house, offered very close to asking price but there was high competition and after bidding process, the property sold for at least 20,000 over asking price!

We are still looking, and from what we have gathered, Oxford is now flooded by ex rentals at crazy prices and Cambridge has slightly lower prices but still quite high due to scarcity of decent properties up for sale.

I should explain that both properties we offered on required complete update. We are a normal family whose income has been hit by the recession and who cannot afford to pay unrealistic prices and still have to spend money to do up the house. Are we supposed to pay top prices for wrecks?

Are Oxford and Cambridge in some parallel universe immune to the recession? The irony is that we left London and now London properties are cheaper than the ones in Ox and Cam

Grumpy gazumped buyer

You'll look back and see this as a lucky escape after prices drop another 20%. Agreed there are supporing forces in both cities but gravity can't be denied forever.

As for the people who offered £20k over asking price in this market, there's only one word: Meh ....!

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Are we supposed to pay top prices for wrecks?

The very thought of people believing that they are supposed to offer stupid money for houses just because some ******ing jumped up retarded chav estate agent ******* has made them believe that it's the done thing fills me with anger.

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Are Oxford and Cambridge in some parallel universe immune to the recession? The irony is that we left London and now London properties are cheaper than the ones in Ox and Cam

Oxbridge houses do have a degree of immunity to any recession. Both places have a large stock of houses 'with old world charm'. Many of the people buying here are wealthy city types who commute to London and find both places offer a better quality of life than they can get in London for the same money plus better schools. People like the 'small town' feel of both places - I can walk around town centre in either place and be fairly certain I will bump into former colleagues and friends with an hour or so. Many are graduates of each respective University who still have strong groups of long term friends in the area, plus access to all the theatre, concerts and other social stuff. In terms of the University staff, you can pretty much plot date of appointment against areas where people live unless they had family money. Many 'recent' appointments cannot afford to live in either town, and instead commute in from the outlying villages if they want anything like a 3 or 4 bed house with decent room sizes and a garden for their families; another subset continue to live out towards/beyond the ring road in East Oxford or Cherry Hinton in Cambridge, many still in house share groups that formed when they were students 10+ years ago.

I'm surprised you think Oxford is cheaper than Cambridge, my experience is the opposite - Cambridge is a much smaller place with much more limited housing stock so its prices seem to be holding ~10% premium if I compare areas I think are broadly analogous (say Mill Road area Cambridge and Cowley Road area Oxford).

I'm a former Oxford resident currently house hunting in Cambridge as the result of a job relocation. The Cambridge market certainly still seems to be in a bubble. Local unemployment figures remain low, and we've only seen a few local shops close so far - the recession isn't biting here yet. Wait for next year when Addenbrookes and the University decide they really need to tighten their belts and start looking very closely at headcount. The University in Cambridge is clearly starting to think along these lines - for example see the whole sorry saga of the proposed reforms to Statute U (a.k.a 'how to make staff redundant more easily') and the Board of Scrutiny's report published last week about the state of the University's finances. I suspect the local bubble will start bursting properly next year.

Edited by Uitlander

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There is a certain student factor here too. It has been quite common, especially for rich foreign students to have their parents buy them somewhere to stay during their studies. Generally they are there to work and not live it up in the college lodgings or other shared student houses - unlike a lot of the UK students.

Right now the UK is an attractive place to study, due to the weak Pound. Two years ago Universities were pulling hair out over falling student numbers from overseas, but Sterling's plunge has fixed that and a lot will be moving in this September. Last year was the thin year for UK Universities in terms of foreign student numbers.

Edited by mikelivingstone

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Thanks for your replies, but I suppose I'm preaching to converts, since this website is about price crashes!

Why do I think that Oxford is more expensive? I suppose it's relative to our experience. In Cambridge you can get a four bed detached house with big garden, say 2 miles from centre for much less than any comparable area in Oxford, where detached means a hike of at least 200K for desirable four beds, if not more. No wonder there were at least five people fighting for the detached house in Cambridge we were hoping to buy for around 300K.

An example in the top range: at the moment there are two desirable properties for sale in Cambridge and Oxford at same price (over 1.3 million pounds). In Oxford you get a Summertown house that is not special needing update (lovely area, but not central), in Cambridge there is a central, Grand Designs-style property with floor to ceilings huge windows. I haven't got that amount of money, but the Cambridge one seems to be a 'bargain', compared to what you get in Oxford.

On the positive side: a few months ago we told Oxford estate agents we had around 300K for a three/four bed and some of them sneered at us and said they had nothing to offer. A few months later, one of the snobbish estate agents came back and said they can now accommodate us... Another estate agent admitted there are no buyers at the moment.

Shall I dare to dream the bubble has burst, that the BTL investors have left? Not in sellers' minds, they still want half a million for modest houses you can now get in many parts of London for 250K (selling for around 300-330K before August 2008). I know people in London who are trapped and cannot sell as their house is now worth 250, so London money is not what it used to be...

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Yes, I think you hve a lot of 'the converted' here. I think that in either place it has to be a waiting game, and prices may not drop as much as any of us would like. An old friend is currently trying to move out of the house share they have lived in in Oxford for the past 10+ years and settle down with her partner in their first home. They are both well paid IT types, so it turns out that we are both looking with around the same budget ~300K max, ideally looking for 3+beds. So we compare the properties we are looking at on rightmove and for us they seem broadly similar.

Anyway, I think I've concluded that at the moment the only places I can find that fit my needs are in the villages for the budget I have. I have had an offer accepted on one place, but it is caught in an incomplete chain and has been like this for months, so I am continuing to look for something better as an alternative. I am hoping that come the autumn we will start to see more of a correction in Cambridge itself, and then I suspect you and I will be looking at the same properties as it sounds like we have a similar budget to play with.

I have still not had any of the snobbish agents around here call me back when I leave messages about trying to arrange viewings, let alone try and contact me about anything coming onto the market. In the main they just sound annoyed that I am disrupting their cup of tea by calling and asking for unreasonable things like a viewing appoitment. They certainly know how to make me feel as if I am some lesser form of life as I 'only' have £300K to spend, which is clearly beneath them.

If only we could move up into that Million + bracket (I've always rather fancied one of those palaces in Chaucer Road myself).

Edited by Uitlander

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There's a good thread in the East Anglia regional subforum on Cambridge.

What will finally kill these markets is people will sell up and move back to London when they realise they can get more house in London than Oxbridge.

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Guest The Relaxation Suite

Oxford prices are still ridiculously over-valued because most of the cheques buying houses are being written in Shanghai or Lahore by rich parents who want to buy their children a safe place to live while they study. The city is very unrepresentative of the wider UK market and I suppose Cambridge is too. My guess is that Oxford still has about 40% to fall before buying housing stops being an extreme sport.

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Oxbridge houses do have a degree of immunity to any recession. Both places have a large stock of houses 'with old world charm'. Many of the people buying here are wealthy city types who commute to London and find both places offer a better quality of life than they can get in London for the same money plus better schools. People like the 'small town' feel of both places - I can walk around town centre in either place and be fairly certain I will bump into former colleagues and friends with an hour or so. Many are graduates of each respective University who still have strong groups of long term friends in the area, plus access to all the theatre, concerts and other social stuff. In terms of the University staff, you can pretty much plot date of appointment against areas where people live unless they had family money. Many 'recent' appointments cannot afford to live in either town, and instead commute in from the outlying villages if they want anything like a 3 or 4 bed house with decent room sizes and a garden for their families; another subset continue to live out towards/beyond the ring road in East Oxford or Cherry Hinton in Cambridge, many still in house share groups that formed when they were students 10+ years ago.

I'm surprised you think Oxford is cheaper than Cambridge, my experience is the opposite - Cambridge is a much smaller place with much more limited housing stock so its prices seem to be holding ~10% premium if I compare areas I think are broadly analogous (say Mill Road area Cambridge and Cowley Road area Oxford).

I'm a former Oxford resident currently house hunting in Cambridge as the result of a job relocation. The Cambridge market certainly still seems to be in a bubble. Local unemployment figures remain low, and we've only seen a few local shops close so far - the recession isn't biting here yet. Wait for next year when Addenbrookes and the University decide they really need to tighten their belts and start looking very closely at headcount. The University in Cambridge is clearly starting to think along these lines - for example see the whole sorry saga of the proposed reforms to Statute U (a.k.a 'how to make staff redundant more easily') and the Board of Scrutiny's report published last week about the state of the University's finances. I suspect the local bubble will start bursting properly next year.

Never understood that as a Londoner - whats so good about a small town feel - miles from anywhere, lack of choice in most things and nosy neighbours

Edited by Greg Bowman

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Never understood that as a Londoner - whats so good about a small town feel - miles from anywhere, lack of choice in most things and nosy neighbours

As a Londoner by birth, a former Oxford resident and a current Cambridge one I'm happy to answer that.

Small town feel means you will bump into friends around town - both places have a sense of community you won't find in London.All the major shops/chains are there plus you have small local retailers with interesting stuff rather than a plastic high street. No idea what you're getting at with the 'Noisy Neighbours' - are you suggesting that there are no noise/people problems in London? The obnoxious ****ards that used to live next door to my parent's detached house in the London suburbs made their lives a misery for 20+ years with noise and anti-social behaviour. Not had any problems like that myself in either Oxford or Cambridge, but like anywhere your neighbours are going to be a factor out of your control.

Better than London? Well, that's a matter of personal choice. I was very relieved to leave the place at 18 and have no desire to move back there. Too overcrowded for me.

Edited by Uitlander

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Looking in Cambridge as I cannot be bothered with Oxford at the moment. The problem with Oxford is that some areas are a no go for us.

Today two new houses attracted my attention in Cambridge: a three bed detached for 295, not far from centre but on arterial road and a terraced three bed close to station for 499. Crazy or what?

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Looking in Cambridge as I cannot be bothered with Oxford at the moment. The problem with Oxford is that some areas are a no go for us.

Today two new houses attracted my attention in Cambridge: a three bed detached for 295, not far from centre but on arterial road and a terraced three bed close to station for 499. Crazy or what?

I guess the city terrace must be the one on Emery St. IMO seems like a good location, its the right side of Mill Rd bridge, in Parkside school catchment area and very close to town. A less attractive 3 bedroom house in Newnham just came on at 525K so probably priced about right for the present environment.

I was interested that the repossesion in Hemmingford Rd, in need of tons of work, much less attractive location, wrong side of the bridge etc. origionally priced at 298K is under offer at 320K according to the note in the property guide.

If you want a bargain at the moment in Cambridge you need to step outside the city and look in the villages!

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The very thought of people believing that they are supposed to offer stupid money for houses just because some ******ing jumped up retarded chav estate agent ******* has made them believe that it's the done thing fills me with anger.

The price is what people will pay. Nothing more or less than that.

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I considered applying for a job in Cambridge (it was at Anglia Ruskin though) but checked out the houseprices and decided against it! The salary would have barely covered the rent for anything decent. I would be approaching retirement age before I could have got together a deposit to buy in Cambridge. :lol:

I was gazumped back in 2006 for a property in a university city even though I put in an offer 20K above their asking price. At these prices they can keep their houses and their jobs!

Edited by crashologist

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I considered applying for a job in Cambridge (it was at Anglia Ruskin though) but checked out the houseprices and decided against it! The salary would have barely covered the rent for anything decent. I would be approaching retirement age before I could have got together a deposit to buy in Cambridge. :lol:

I was gazumped back in 2006 for a property in a university city even though I put in an offer 20K above their asking price. At these prices they can keep their houses and their jobs!

Well, I hear that many jobs will be going, so what will happen to the houses? Funnily enough both houses I lost have not come through, so I assume sale is still pending or they have been withdrawn.

Will have to rent if nothing turns up. All I see at the moment are houses bought for 300-600 just a few years ago and being sold for 500 or even over a million - asking prices of course, I think fools are hard to find now. Greedy buggers

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Oxford prices are still ridiculously over-valued because most of the cheques buying houses are being written in Shanghai or Lahore by rich parents who want to buy their children a safe place to live while they study. The city is very unrepresentative of the wider UK market and I suppose Cambridge is too. My guess is that Oxford still has about 40% to fall before buying housing stops being an extreme sport.

Friend of mine runs a small cab company. At this time of year they get lots of jobs ferrying Chinese and HK Chinese from Heathrow to public schools and colleges in the north midlands and Yorks. I guess some of these kids will end up at Oxbridge in a couple of years as a result.

On the general issue of whether Oxbridge house prices will crash - did they eventually slump in the crash of the early 1990s after holding out for a while? If they did, then they will probably do so again.

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Oxford prices are still ridiculously over-valued because most of the cheques buying houses are being written in Shanghai or Lahore by rich parents who want to buy their children a safe place to live while they study. The city is very unrepresentative of the wider UK market and I suppose Cambridge is too. My guess is that Oxford still has about 40% to fall before buying housing stops being an extreme sport.

From what I hear that problem may be getting sorted. Oxford Univ. has jettisoned itself into the 21st Century and will be setting up an offshoot in the PRC.

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