In recent years, the cost of housing in Oxford, MS has been on a steady rise following the growth of the University of Mississippi. Along with the rising cost, opportunities to live in affordable housing in the area have been on the decline. This has created a serious problem within Oxfords community that is currently affecting families trying to make ends meet. This affects a select group of people within the community, which is why awareness of the issue is not prominent in the town of Oxford.
As a result of the rise in property value and rent, it is forcing low income members of the community and their families to move farther and farther out of Oxford in order to find more affordable housing. These workers, some of whom that work for the University, commute from places as far away as Batesville and Water Valley. As the University and the city of Oxford continue to grow and expand, these struggling families and workers are finding it harder and harder to afford to live in Oxford.
Families that cannot afford housing in Oxford really only have one option which is to move out of town due to the lack of affordable housing in town. The Oxford Eagle goes into detail about this issue and can help the public understand the magnitude of this issue some residence must face.
Another factor that affects the housing market is the large body of affluent students that attend the University. Realtors and property owners see this demographic as money signs because they know there are people willing and capable of paying premium prices in town, which in turn cuts out the low income families and eventually pushing them out of town. According to AreaVibes, a company that collects data such as demographics and living conditions for different cities, Oxfords rent averages $99 higher per month compared to Mississippi’s average as a whole. This is considerably higher than the surrounding areas of Oxford and is simply not attainable for some residence within the community.
Low income families will continue to struggle with Oxfords current housing rates unless an alternative to these rates are met. Until then, these Families will have to cope with gentrification by less favored alternatives like moving out of town to afford housing.