Edward Street Quarter in Brighton

    The postcodes with a ‘woke’ premium

    15 October 2020

    You don’t have to be on Twitter to recognise that the desire to advertise one’s social justice credentials is everywhere these days.

    What’s more, such considerations are increasingly affecting consumers’ purchase habits – and apparently choosing somewhere to live is no different.

    Mortgage experts Bankrate have been crunching data, looking at various social and economic hot topics, to distill what it is that gives property in ‘woke’ cities such a hefty price tag.

    Here are the places at the top of their list:

    Oxford (average house price: £511,086)

    Green credentials in Oxford

    After centuries hosting one of the world’s greatest universities, the city of Oxford now has a new honour: as the wokest place in Britain.

    According to Bankrate’s data, Oxford narrowly scoops the prize due to its particularly high marks for all things environmental. Whilst the city’s green credentials seem to have bolstered house prices it has led to some unusual policy proposals, including a limit on office parking spaces to encourage residents to walk or cycle to work – a great idea in theory but in practice the sky high property prices mean that it’s the few, not the many, that can live within walking distance of the office.

    The city also scores well on political engagement – with one central constituency registering a whopping 80 per cent turnout at the last election. And who inspired this great electoral surge? Former Lib Dem leadership hopeful and proud pansexual Layla Moran – who bagged an impressive 53 per cent of the vote.

    So where might socially-conscious types choose to buy in Oxford? High on the list is the environmentally-minded Mosaics – a new development from award-winning housebuilder Hill aimed at eco-conscious millennials.

    The sustainability-focused development – one of the new NHS-approved ‘healthy new towns’ – offers a range of properties from one-bedroom apartments to five-bedroom houses. It’s situated in a green location just a short cycle ride from the city centre.

    Brighton (average house price: £424,049)

    While Brighton might have been pipped to the top spot, it does emerge victorious in one category: having the largest percentage of self-identified vegans and veggies. In per capita terms, the city has twenty times as many meat-free restaurants as London.

    One well-known local vegetarian is Caroline Lucas. Having narrowly become the Green Party’s first ever MP back in 2010, the environmental crusader has become a local fixture – doubling her vote in ten years.

    When it comes to Brighton, the most suitable homes for woke buyers will likely be found in the Edward Street Quarter, a new ‘live and work’ neighbourhood aimed at boosting Brighton’s tech and creative sectors by bringing in London exiles.

    In total there will be 168 housing units, as well as an office-space complex looking to attract start-ups leaving the capital after the pandemic.

    Bath (average house price: £485,290)

    Somerset’s most charming city scores reasonably well across the board without being a runaway leader in any particular field.

    Though there are signs the city might be trying to steal a march on its local rival Bristol – home of the old Colston statue – when it comes to the delicate topic of slavery. The city’s iconic Royal Crescent recently put out a statement addressing its links to the historic slave trade.

    Amongst the top five woke hotspots, Bath is the only one that scores below one (the lowest score) on any topic: in this case, the gender/ethnic balance of its local council. It is currently dominated by bearded Lib Dems with strange ideas about 5G.

    Though the city isn’t always known as a youth hotspot, the Bath Riverside development by Crest Nicholson – a collection of city apartments and penthouses by the River Avon – has been attracting interest from younger professionals.

    London (average house price: £766,409)

    After a summer dominated by Extinction Rebellion and Black Lives Matter, it’s surprising London doesn’t finish a little higher – but perhaps that’s my Islington-centric view.

    Either way, the city has seen a new wave of housing developments aimed at socially-minded types. The Fish Island Village is one of the latest, looking to attract first-time buyers to the canalside neighbourhood of Hackney Wick.

    The development promises to combine all the perks of modern apartments with an emphasis on outdoor living. True to the spirit of Hackney, the wider complex will also feature a dedicated creative space where residents can attend workshops and arty gatherings.

    Cambridge (average house price: £503,365)

    Cambridge University has certainly had its woke wobbles – not least with its decision to cancel Jordan Peterson’s guest lectures. And what do they get for all that fuss? A fifth-placed finish – and well behind Oxford too.

    If it’s any consolation, the city does at least manage to defeat its rival on one metric: its gender pay gap is marginally better. Maybe they’ll be singing that at next year’s boat race.

    Anyone keen to add to the city’s progressive credentials, can do a lot worse than Great Kneighton – a purpose-built, outdoor-focused development just south of the city, where the last round of homes has recently gone on sale.

    With one and two bedroom apartments and three-bedroom duplexes, the development offers sought-after modern-living and pleasant green landscapes within easy reach of the ancient city centre.