Easy summer living

Summer 2004

The national news is full of stories about the current shortage of housing, and the problem in Oxfordshire would seem to be worse than in other places.

The way that demand exceeds supply here can be taken as a compliment in many ways – the county is clearly a place where many people are very keen to live and settle down. They may be drawn by Oxford’s reputation as a centre for international learning, or by the vibrancy of surrounding towns. Or they may seek peace, quiet and a chocolate-box cottage in one of the many villages dotted all over the county.

However, wanting a property in the area is not the same as getting one, which is why the papers are full of doom and gloom about first-time buyers giving up, or key workers looking elsewhere.

However, all is not lost. Every new house built represents a fresh opportunity for someone to make a home in the county, and new developments are springing up all over Oxfordshire.

The best thing about these new developments is that they seem, more than ever before, to be tailored to the needs and wants of the people who will be living in them.

The architect Le Corbusier once wrote: “A house is a machine for living in”, but when a later architect said: “A person is a machine for living in one of my houses”, nobody was sure that he was joking.

However, the arrogance and social engineering that was characteristic of some 20th century architects seems to have melted away with the new millennium, to be replaced with a holistic approach that centres on the home’s inhabitants.

“Lifestyle” is the buzzword, and developers have clearly done a lot of research to keep up with – and sometimes shape – trends.

It would seem from this summer’s crop of new developments that space is one of a buyer’s most important requirements. Many houses – and apartments – are described as “roomy” and “spacious”, a sure sigh that a feeling of openness is high on the list of must-have factors.

This is linked to another trend – the desire to use available space in more imaginative ways.  Open-plan living is gaining in popularity, as is the idea of “zones”, where different areas of a property are dedicated to different areas of your life, or even set aside for different family members.

Whatever the future trends, it is clear that work on today’s new developments has kept you, the buyer, in mind more than ever before.