Page last updated at 12:15 GMT, Monday, 1 December 2008

Homes among most expensive in UK

Oxford
Oxford has very few people classified as breadline poor

Oxford has the second highest average house prices in the UK, according to research commissioned by the BBC.

Changing UK investigated how life in Britain has changed over the past 40 years.

It found that a typical house in Oxford cost 280,000 in 2006 - double the price of a house in Hull.

However, Oxford was not always so expensive. Forty years ago, the Jericho area was considered a "slum", now even terraced houses sell for up to 1m.

BBC Nations and Regions commissioned research from Sheffield University to assess how the UK's communities have changed over time and how communities compare today.

Fifty years ago, Jericho was considered a dangerous slum. Now only rich people can afford to buy or even rent properties there
Susanna Pressel
Lord Mayor of Oxford
The report discovered that the area covered by BBC Oxford had seen the cost of living soar. House prices in the county are higher than anywhere outside London.

People living in Oxfordshire have also become much wealthier.

The county is now ranked as one of the most asset-rich areas of the UK, with only a very tiny percentage of the population living below the breadline.

As a result, people living there are much less likely to die at a young age than the average Briton.

Jericho's 'slums'

Oxford's canal district is now one of the most popular and most expensive areas to live in the city. But that was not always the case.

"Fifty years ago, Jericho was considered a dangerous slum and was almost pulled down," said Oxford Mayor Susanna Pressel.

"Now, only rich people can afford to buy or even rent properties there,"

Wendy Matthews, 68, bought her first house in Jericho 50 years ago, for 525.

"It was two-up-two-down with an outside toilet." she said. "Recently, that same house was on the market for about 350,000."

"Jericho has changed a lot, because people are having to work more and earn more money. Years ago we did not have so much, but we enjoyed ourselves."

Houses in Jericho
The old 'slums' of Jericho have been transformed into homes for the rich

But residents believe a community spirit still exists.

Oxford Mayor, Susanna Pressel added: "There are a lot of people who have lived in Jericho all their lives, and almost 150 council properties.

"Thanks to a hard working residents' association, there is still a wonderful sense of community."



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