LOCALS are being further squeezed out of Oxford’s housing market as the number of buyers from outside the county doubled.

A quarter of estate agent Knight Frank’s sales in the city came from buyers outside Oxfordshire in 2013, but last year that proportion rocketed to more than half.

And demand from Londoners was one of the biggest drivers, up six-fold from three per cent to 18 per cent.

Knight Frank partner William Kirkland said this was because house prices in the capital had soared by 65 per cent in the past four years.

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He said: “It is an astonishing level of growth and means, for London buyers, Oxford looks good value.”

International buyers also drove up prices in Oxford. The agent said more than one in six of the agent’s sales in 2014 were made to wealthy clients from overseas. In 2013 the figure was one in 10.

Key attractions were private schools and the city’s reputation as a safe place to raise a family, Mr Kirkland said. And another major selling point was good transport links to Heathrow and London, set to be boosted by a new rail link between Oxford and London Marylebone, which opens this summer.

Mr Kirkland added: “It’s a very small city, which a lot of people like and investment-wise, it is seen as a safe haven.”

But the boom in sales from outside the city means locals are struggling to buy.

Chipping Norton commuter Peter Meinertzhagen, 27, said he travels for over an hour every day by bus to reach his workplace in New Road. The digital marketing manager for tech start-up Journl said he and partner Kasia Piekut were looking for somewhere in the city but were struggling with cost.

Mr Meinertzhagen said: “We have both got jobs in Oxford and so want to move there, but it is incredibly expensive. The problem is that most people who work there are still not paid anything like what you need to live there.”

House prices in prime areas of Oxford have risen twice as fast as the rest of the region and the UK, up by 6.1 per cent during 2014, compared to 3.9 per cent for the South East and 3.4 per cent for the rest of the country.

The figures came as Oxford City Council signed off its biggest house-building scheme in a generation in a bid to battle soaring prices. Work on the Barton Park development, which will provide 885 homes, is scheduled to start in the next few months.

Council leader Bob Price said local people would be given priority for new homes. He said: “We are also going to take steps to prevent sale of the private houses to ‘buy for rent’ landlords and encourage families working locally to buy them.”