Cambridge property market hottest in UK

Image credit: The Telegraph

Cambridge has been shown to be the fastest selling property market in the UK – even beating London.  This has raised claims of economic growth, but also fears among some that young people and students are being priced out of the housing market.

According to the property website Rightmove, Cambridge homes take on average just 27 days to be sold, compared to 47 in Greater London. The slowest was Powys in Wales, with 113 days.

Local estate agent Andrew Bradshaw, quoted in The Independent, said “In the current market we are finding a number of buyers for many properties within two weeks or even a week in some cases”, citing demand for student housing, railway investment and booming business as driving the upsurge.

The high demand for housing has been pushing up house prices in this region, benefiting homeowners. However, for Cambridge students who are graduating and looking to stay, the city may be becoming increasingly unaffordable.

Recent graduate John Mueller told The Cambridge Student about his struggles to find a house. He described the process as “psychologically rather damaging, not having somewhere to live - or living in squalor”. Whilst he now rents a house, he describes the market as “biased against” young people”.

Some have highlighted cases like these as a cause for worry. Fred Cotterill, Chair of Cambridge Universities Labour Club, is one of them. Whilst saying Cambridge is “a lovely place to live”, he also emphasises the negative side-effects of high house prices for recent graduates. Cotterill calls on the government to “be building more affordable homes, and looking at alternatives like housing co-operatives”. Local Councillor Daniel Ratcliffe argued that whilst “we are proud of our position as a world-leader in academic and scientific research...We're in danger of becoming nothing more than a playground for the rich and a commuter town for people working in London.”

Cambridge University Conservative Association was unavailable for comment.

It may not be exclusively grim future for current students. New houses are being built – notably in Trumpington Meadows where homes are being increased by 20 per cent. However, at the current rate, more and more students may be forced to move elsewhere in the search for their first rented apartment.

[Source Rightmove.co.uk. Based on number of days a property is on Rightmove before being marked as sold, April-June 2014]

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