Over 150,000 people live in Oxford, including about 30,000 students who live either in accommodation provided by their college or the University's Graduate Accommodation Office, or in private accommodation around the city. More than half of University staff live and work in the majestic medieval, Georgian, Victorian and Edwardian buildings that grace the city. The remaning 45% of staff live outside the city, either in neighbouring villages and towns, or commuting from London.
You can rent or buy a house, flat or bedsit / studio apartment depending on how much space you and your family will need. For those without families, shared accommodation (renting with other people) can be a good temporary arrangement as it is one of the most cost-effective ways to rent. If you are new to the UK, this explanation of the different types of properties (e.g. semi-detached houses, flat, etc) might be useful.
Choosing the right area for you
The area you choose to live in will depend on your personal preferences and circumstances. You may wish to consider the following:
- Commuting time (how long it will take you to reach your place of work)
- Public transport links
- Car parking facilities
- Proximity to hospitals and any other services that are important to you
This map showing the different districts in Oxford will help you to judge distances from the city centre. Areas close to central Oxford will normally be more expensive, whether renting or buying. Further information is available on the ‘Residents’ section of the Oxford City Council website.
If you have school-age children, the choice of the area you wish to live in may also be influenced by the ‘catchment areas’ of the local state schools. The catchment area is the area from which children are entitled to attend a certain local school. Children are normally only able to get a place at a school within its catchment area.
Your colleagues may be able to offer useful information and advice on the various districts in Oxford and the surrounding area, and other matters such as schools, childcare, cost of living, public transport, commuting times, shops and other facilities.
There are other websites that provide similar information, for example UK Local Area.
When we started looking for housing in Oxford I didn't have a sense of all the different neighborhoods. I mostly looked at properties in Oxford itself, but couldn't find a home big enough in our price range. I then responded to an ad for a house in Kennington, 3 miles south of Oxford city centre. We loved the home. It was the right price and size, and we have loved living in a village just outside of Oxford.
Shelley Hoffmire, Oxford University Newcomer, Boston, United States