It’s the question that won’t go away. When it was asked earlier in the year, everyone’s fears were allayed and experts concluded that nothing worse than short-lived downturns lay ahead. It’s now reared its head again and this time the answers are not quite so unequivocal. But is or isn’t a crash in the housing market a likelihood for 2022? Here’s our Master Removers Guide, looking at the theories as to what possibly could happen.
Though they might initially seem unrelated, the cost-of-living crisis has some unexpected consequences for the removals and storage market. A recent Deltapoll survey, commissioned by PR firm, the London Communications Agency, reveals that most Londoners now cite the cost of living as their greatest concern, well ahead of other pressing worries such as housing, the Ukraine war and crime. And those fears are well-founded, given that energy bills are rising by £700 a year, petrol costs are at an all-time high (we’re paying almost £400 more a year for it) and there’s an imminent National Insurance hike. Further to that, one of the solutions being put in place actually puts all households into £200 of debt; that’s the government’s fuel ‘rebate’, designed to help people in the short term but actually leaving them beholden to an unwanted instalment plan in the long term. The cost-of-living crisis is expected to put a considerable squeeze on renters, who had a period of reprieve during the coronavirus surge, when evictions were temporarily banned. Now the ban is over and people are left grappling with the possibility of arrears and eviction notices.
Moving Home to Save Money
But what if there were a positive side to this otherwise-gloomy outlook? Because there’s one way in which moving house could be the solution (or at least an ameliorating factor) to the problem of energy costs going up and up. If someone moves to a properly insulated property and stays there for several years, they may not only quickly make back their moving costs, but end up with considerable savings. The industry-average cost of moving in 2022 is around £1180 (although moving to/from a one-bedroom flat can cost as little as £300), so it’s feasible you could have paid off the cost of the move and started to make a saving by the second year in your new home at the very latest. Leaving behind an un-insulated, draughty home, where rapid heat loss forces you to keep the central heating on for hours, and finding a property where the rooms remain at a pleasantly habitable temperature for hours and hours, is perhaps the best way of cocking a snook at the ever-increasing rapaciousness of the energy companies.
Choosing an Insulated Home
If you’re not familiar with a contemporary insulated home, there are several things to look out for when you’re viewing properties. New-builds are most likely to have extensive insulation already in place, but it’s possible to find homes from any period that have had significant insulation measures applied. You should confirm with the agent that the roof and/or loft are insulated. 2018 research by the Energy Saving Trust reveals that this alone brings down energy bills by as much as £200 a year. Wall insulation (particularly important for post-1920s houses that have cavity walls) is another important feature, bringing down your bills by over £200 (for cavity walls) or £400 (for solid walls).
Floor insulation comes next. While some people take the DIY approach and simply apply sealant between skirting boards and floors, for old homes insulation is a more involved job, requiring mineral wool to be placed beneath the floorboards. The saving here is not quite as dramatic, but you can still enjoy another £60 vanishing from your bills.
There are multiple methods of draught-elimination, so check that the properties you’re looking at have at least one or more of them in place (unless, of course, you’re willing to do it yourself – and it is one of the more straightforward insulation jobs). Draught-exclusion around windows and doors can take your bills down by another £25.
Adding insulation to pipes, water tanks and radiators means that water in your property stays hot for much longer. Some of these insulation jobs can be done via DIY. Pipe insulation, for example, entails the application of a foam rube to cover any exposed piping between the boiler and the hot water cylinder. Depending on how much work you do in this area, you can be looking at as much as an £80 reduction in energy bills.
Keeping Your Moving Costs Down
If you take the plunge and move to an insulated property, you can start saving all the sooner if you manage your moving budget carefully. That’s where the Master Remover Group – an array of removals and storage companies – can be the answer, especially if you choose a cost-efficient man-and-van service. Our decades of experience have enabled us to offer removals and storage to suit a wide range of budgets and you can eliminate an additional cost by opting out of any packing/unpacking services (though we can still help provide boxes and packing materials). All Master Remover Group companies are happy to consult with you to devise a move that keeps costs low but without any diminution in the quality of the service you get.
It’s an issue that found itself centre-stage during the covid pandemic, when tenants were given a grace period, during which they were allowed longer notice periods, at first six months, and then – as the situation appeared to improve – four. Bailiff-enforced evictions were suspended.This was a gesture designed to recognise the difficulty tenants faced during lockdown, not only in terms of paying rent, but also in finding new homes in the event either of eviction or of coming to the end of their contracts. But it also served to highlight just how difficult renting can be, given the whims of landlords and the ever-rising costs, especially in the capital. If you’re renting, it’s unlikely you’ll be equipped with all the knowledge of your rights; after all, it’s hardly something most of us read up on for pleasure. But it could make all the difference if you find yourself in fraught circumstances. So here’s the Master Removers guide to tenants’ rights.
When you rent from a private landlord, your rights (and responsibilities) are to some extent determined by the kind of contract you sign. Rental agreements vary but in most instances, you’ll be given what’s known as an ‘assured short hold tenant’ (it’s different if you live in the same building as your landlord). If you’re a social housing tenant, the rights are slightly different and can be read up on here.
Staying In The Property
As an assured short hold tenant, you have the right to remain in the accommodation until the term fixed in your contract comes to an end. To evict you before this date, the landlord would need to present evidence to a court – whether that’s of damage, failure to pay rent or some other breach of contract. You may also remain in the property after the contract expires if your landlord hasn’t given you notice.
Enforcing Your Rights
Assured shorthold tenants can enforce their rights (for example, to expedite repairs), but it’s worth bearing in mind that when you take this step, you’ll often find that landlords take the retaliatory measure of not renewing your contract. The first step in enforcing rights is to write to your landlord explaining that you will take legal action if the matter (e.g. repairs) isn’t resolved within 14 days. If you have to take the matter further, look up your nearest county court and send them a completed claim form. This will involve what’s known as an ‘issue fee’.
Other Legal Rights
Not only do you have the right to stay in the property for the length of the fixed-term contract, you also have the right to expect the property to be kept in a good state of repair and the right to oversee small repairs yourself and then remunerate yourself by docking the cost from your next rent payment.
Tenants also have the right not to be treated unjustly based on their disabilities, pregnancy/maternity, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation and gender reassignment.
There is also the right of ‘succession’ – for a spouse, civil partner or partner to take over the tenancy when you die.
As a tenant, you have the right to:
- live in a home that’s safe and in a good state of repair
- Challenge any excessively high charges
- Get your deposit back when the tenancy ends (in some cases, this will also involve a deposit-protection scheme being taken out when the tenancy begins, designed to protect both parties)
- Live undisturbed in the property
- Know the identity of your landlord
- Be protected from unfair eviction and unfair rent rises
- View the property’s Energy Performance Certificate
- Have a written agreement if your fixed-term tenancy is for more than three years
- Have a tenancy agreement that is fair and compliant with the law
- Be given a copy of the How To Rent guide by your landlord (in England)
- Be given a Tenant Information Pack (if you live in Scotland)
- Be given 24 hours’ notice by your landlord if he/she plans to visit/inspect the property, unless it’s an emergency requiring immediate access
- Only be visited/inspected by your landlord at a reasonable time of day agreed between both parties
A prevalent misconception is that covid has altered tenants’ responsibilities. This is not true. Your responsibilities are:
- To look after the property
- To pay the rent, even during times of dispute (e.g. waiting for repairs)
- To pay the charges agreed in your contract, such as utility bills and council tax
- To repair or cover the cost of damage that you’ve caused (or that’s been caused by friends/family)
- Not to sub-let unless your tenancy agreement explicitly allows it or you’ve reached such an agreement with your landlord
No industry is immune from the disruption wrought by the covid-19 pandemic, as it pushes us from lockdown to ill-fated tier system and back to lockdown and more lockdown. Even with all the changes to process, such as online viewings and no-contact removals jobs, the housing market – like anything else that forms part of life in the UK – has been profoundly shaken up by the way the world has abruptly changed over the last 12 months. But enough of the past – what exactly lies ahead for the rest of 2021? Here’s our Master Removers report on what we expect of the UK housing market over the next few months.
What are the Main Factors Currently Influencing Change in the Market?
Without a doubt, it’s Brexit and coronavirus. These two forces have coincided (it might have been a better outcome had we been subjected to them one at a time, rather than simultaneously), sending shockwaves through every industry, from entertainment to fishing, and shutting some of them down entirely. Still, some of the government’s measures have had an off-setting effect. In July 2020, stamp duty was temporarily suspended, helping the market remain buoyant. Of course, all good things come to an end and, unless there’s a change of plan, the stamp duty holiday will be over at the end of March 2021. People buying before that date could save well as much as £15,000 in tax. The uptick created by this suspension has been significant, with HMRC figures indicating that December 2020 sales were up 32 per cent on the previous year. All of the companies within MRG have experience of this, to quote one, Peter Donaldson from Camp Hopson Removals in Newbury “We are over twice as busy as normal for this time of year and and the extra business is almost completely down to be people trying to move before the end of the stamp duty holiday”
Meanwhile, there’s conjecture about the ongoing effects of Brexit on the housing market. We can see that there was a significant fall in property prices towards the end of 2018, some of which was attributed to Brexit worries. However, when we look at the market in terms of the number of transactions per month, it remains in a healthy state. Nevertheless, we still don’t know the full extent of the impact of Brexit on people’s everyday lives, and there remains some call for an extension on the stamp duty holiday so that the market remains supported through the uncertainty. Without that, it’s almost certain there’ll be a slump in movement in April and May. Price inflation, however, is not expected – prices are anticipated to be either static or lower, with rises only occurring in specific regions but not at a national level.
What are the Predictions for London?
Things in the capital are as clouded by doubt as everywhere else. There are two principal contributory factors likely to influence how things pan out in London this year; the whole country’s recovery from the pandemic and the unemployment rate. While it’s thought that overseas investment is likely to remain healthy, experts are predicting a drop in house prices by the time we reach autumn or winter. Then there’s the added effect of the widely-trumpeted London exodus; an averse reaction that many home-owners (and renters) experienced when they went through lockdown in cramped flats and apartments. While this trend is expected to stay active through the first half of 2021, it’s thought it will have calmed down by the second half. As for an actual figure on the lowering of house prices in London? Chestertons estate agents have given it an estimate of 2 per cent. However, this is the figure for Greater London – for central London, the picture is more optimistic; instead of a decrease, there could be a 1.5 per cent increase.
Will the End of the Furlough Scheme Affect House Prices?
That’s certainly one of the predictions. When the furlough scheme ends, there could well be a sudden rise in unemployment and consequent economic decline. People no longer able to keep up with mortgage repayments are compelled to sell up quickly and a spate of these sales-in-haste usually pushes prices down. That being said, the government could take action to try to mitigate some of this damage.
What does Master Removers say about the outlook?
Charles Rickards, Director of the Master Removers Group, comments:
“We expect the housing market to remain brisk until the end of March when the stamp duty holiday ends. Looking beyond this date, outcomes will depend on the budget in early March and how the Chancellor treats stamp duty going forward. A return to a more normal economic outlook becomes more likely as the vaccine rollout and its benefits gather momentum. However the end of the furlough scheme will, for some, be a moment of truth; not just for individuals, but for businesses as well. There is likely to be a short term negative effect on house prices and banks’ enthusiasm to lend which is likely dampen activity for the rest of 2021.”
By the time you pack up your house and set out for pastures new, you will in all likelihood already have encountered 101 myths, usually negative, about the process. Some of them become self-fulfilling prophecies – things you bring into being just by expecting them. Others may not come true but will still cast a completely unnecessary sickly pall over the house-moving experience. From superstitions to doom-laden prophecies, the experience of moving house is subject to all kinds of harmful nonsense. Fortunately, we will now extinguish these falsehoods once and for all in our Master Removers guide to the myths of moving house.
Moving House is as stressful as bereavement
It’s an eye-catching idea that somehow sounds plausible. And perhaps the fanciful idea that they’ve gone through something as dreadful as losing a loved one helps house-movers to bond and commiserate with each other. But there’s no credible study that comes anywhere near to proving that moving house is as stressful or painful as a bereavement. For a start, it’s hard to quantify stress and emotional pain. It’s almost certain that if you asked a recently bereaved person whether what they’re going through reminds them of the pain of moving house, you’d end up with a clip ‘round the ear.
Moving House is as stressful as divorce
As with No.1, this is a headline-grabbing idea that really can’t be rigorously tested let alone proved. Some divorces are amicable, others full of bitterness, blame and rancour. Moving house is not comparable to the demise of a long-term relationship. And if moving house is stressful, there is next to no point in making it more so by telling yourself things like this.
It’s bad luck to move on a Saturday
This myth falls into the category of superstition and therefore cannot withstand even fleeting scrutiny. It makes no more sense than saying it’s bad luck to move house on a rainy day. It’s a baseless superstition that does nothing but limit the options of the people who believe it while offering them no tangible benefit in return. Consider this myth well and truly busted.
You can save money by not using a removal company
You might think it a matter of naked self-interest for us to flag this one up, but it’s simply not true. Of course, once you’ve shelled out for a property, whether via a mortgage or, if you’re renting, a deposit plus one month’s rent, the notion that you can save some cash by doing the actual move yourself is a very attractive one. However, you can set off down this path and end up accumulating a whole load of expenses while exhausting yourself in the process. Your own car may well be entirely unsuited to such a large undertaking so before you know it, you’ve had to hire a moving van. You may not be able to rent the appropriate size of vehicle if you’re not permitted to drive an HGV. And all those little extras that might have been available on a complementary basis from your moving company will start to bite, whether it’s the packing materials or the cardboard boxes. Where your worldly goods would be protected from damage in transit while under the care of your removal company, you could well find that when it’s you and a group of friends doing the work, you’re not sufficiently covered. Really, the best way to save money at this stage of your move is to get quotations from reputable agencies, find a competitive one, check the company’s accreditation and customer reviews and then come to a decision.
Packing must be done months or weeks in advance
Hold back on some aspects of your packing because if you go all out and do the lot in advance of your move, you could find yourself scrambling around for something you desperately need but which is now hidden at the bottom of a full box. Yes, by all means get clothing and furniture sorted out early, but leave things like chargers and toiletries till the end. Make sure you don’t pack away all your work apparel, either.
You can save money by skipping the survey
Under no circumstance is it wise to cut your costs by forgoing a proper survey of the house you’re buying. Knowing everything you need to know about its condition could save you from financial peril further down the line. If you haven’t organised a survey, it could diminish your options for getting a mortgage and you’ll end up moving into a property blind and unaware of what might go wrong a few years
We are very proud to have been featured in “1000 Companies to Inspire” which is London Stock Exchange Group’s celebration of some of the fastest-growing and most dynamic small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the UK and Europe.
As well as identifying 1,000 companies, the annual reports examine in detail the opportunities and challenges facing SMEs and looks at the sectors and trends that will shape the future of the British and European economies.
The reports form part of broader LSEG support for high growth companies including business support programme, ELITE.
Read the full report here.
For all the parents who think that raising children in an urban environment such as the capital will give them an incomparably stimulating, exciting and sociable upbringing, there are just as many who feel strongly that a rural or village childhood cannot be beaten when it comes to safety, space, clean air and plenty of time outdoors. Often, it comes down to what kind of childhood you yourself had. If you live in London but were actually raised in, say, Herefordshire, then you may be eager to ensure that your own offspring have the same formative experiences. But if you’re a lifelong city dweller, then it’s hard to imagine anything better than giving your family a bustling city childhood. There’s no right or wrong when it comes to this decision, but if you moved to the capital in your twenties and are now planning, children in tow, to go back whence you came, it’s worth bearing in mind what uprooting your little ones could involve.
Moving To A Village
Sometimes, opting for a village rather than something drastically remote is the sensible option. It’s less of a rude shock to all concerned. Your chosen village may have everything from a school to a post office, a corner shop and a pub. It may even have a restaurant. A village is a different way of life to a town. It can mean a lifestyle overhaul, allowing you to inhabit a property with a big garden. If your kids are teenagers, then take into account proximity to pubic transport. Otherwise, you’ll be spending years as a free taxi service. And whatever age your children are, research transport to local schools.
Is Moving To The Country A Good Idea?
Obviously, the main lure is the difference in property and living space. A move to the country means room and greenery. Some families are happy with the halfway house that is the suburbs but for others, suburbia is pure anathema. Wrenching children out of established friendships and schools is not a decision to be taken lightly. On the other hand, the younger they are, the more likely they are to be quickly adaptive, forming new links so speedily that before long life in London is practically forgotten.
Other considerations to remember include broadband and high speed internet. Although it’s improving all the time, some remote areas are not well served at all. And if any householders are either working from home or undertaking school projects in the house, then fast internet is near-vital. And don’t forget mobile phone reception, either. If you’re taking young ones out of the capital, then at the very least some good connectivity will soften the blow.
Living In The Countryside
There are all kinds of benefits to a move that takes you to the depths of the countryside. There’s the roominess, the wildlife, the peace and solitude. The complications, when it comes to bringing your children along, vary depending on their ages. If they’re tiny, then you’ll want to make sure you have access to babysitters. And if you still want to them to be able to sample the pleasures associated with city living, then determine in advance how near things like theatres and concert halls are. And, thinking ahead to fun days out, find out how near activities like soft play areas are located. What about after-school childcare? And what’s the area set up like for pedestrians in terms of public footpaths? Are there other young families nearby?
Regret Moving Out Of London?
If you make the move and then find yourself longing for life back in the city, it can be the pits. No one wants to dwell in a place of profound regret. If you’re at all unsure, it’s better not to make the move until you have the conviction you can build a life in the countryside. Because of the way the housing market works in London, moving back can leave you cleaned out financially. It’s hard to head off regret in advance, unless you hold on to a pied a terre, alloying you to keep one foot in the capital. Before you make the move, really take a hard look at whether you’re children are happy. If they are, then in moving to the countryside, you are mending something that isn’t broken and possibly projecting your own love of rural life on to your children in order to justify the upheaval. Examining your own motives in an unflinching, clear-eyed fashion can save a lot of angst later on.
It’s something of a national controversie. Every year, parents, desperate to ensure that their children are sufficiently educated, up sticks and look for somewhere that falls within the catchment area of their desired school, a school with a good OFSTED report. There can be vast differences from one school to the next, not just in terms of exam league tables, but in terms of facilities, extra-curricular activities, safety and bullying. Can we really blame parents (and some commentators definitely do) who want their children to grow up into confident, informed, well-rounded adults?
Moving house in order to make your children eligible for a certain school isn’t the only complication related to catchment areas. There’s also the issue of what happens if you’re moving during the application process. And what about if you’re moving after your children have got a place? Does it make a difference to your eligibility if you’re renting rather than buying? We’ll look at all these situations and more over the following paragraphs.
Renting A House In A School Catchment Area
If you’re thinking of renting a property in the catchment area pertaining to your desired secondary school, it’s worth knowing a few things. First, there are the moral issues with which you’ll have to wrestle. By doing this, you’re potentially depriving a child who’s genuinely from that catchment area of a place at the school. Councils are wising up to the practice of parents renting in a catchment area while keeping their old house with a view to moving back into it once they can. So, for example, if you keep your old house but don’t rent it out, your council tax records may be checked when the time comes for a school to make its decision as to which catchment area you truly belong. GP records may also be acquired in order to determine where you’re really living. The upshot is that any offer of a school place could end up being revoked. If you pull it off, you’ll need to live in your new home for some time. Simply moving back once you have the offer of a place could end up backfiring.
Moving House After Getting A School Place
What happens if your child has been given a school place, but you need to move to a different area before he or she actually starts a the school? Unfortunately, there’s no straightforward answer because not all local education authorities are the same. However, the rule of thumb is that it’s where you live when you made the application that counts. The offer of a school place cannot be withdrawn simply because you have moved and, provided your application wasn’t in any way fraudulent or deliberately misleading, the offer remains. In fact, offers can only be withdrawn in very limited circumstances. Why not proceed by not saying anything? Then, when your child has started at the school, send the school a letter notifying them of your change of address.
Applying For A School Place When Moving House
This is a potentially complicated and confusing scenario. And when you’re moving house, there’s already a lot on your plate and quite enough to think about. Presumably, if you’re moving house, then you’re looking for a school that falls within the new catchment area. Consequently, a letter from your solicitor confirming your moving date could be enough to sway things in your favour. A copy of the lease agreement is another useful document.
Moving Into A School Catchment Area
If you’re moving lock stock and barrel in order to get into a catchment area (as opposed to renting temporarily), then you’re not alone. Nearly a quarter of parents with school-age children have travelled the same path, moving house in order to get into their preferred catchment area. Not only can this be unsettling for children, it can mean parents having to take new jobs. Studies have indicated negative effects on children’s mental health as a result of the practise. There’s evidence to suggest that house prices end up being pushed higher by more than £25,000 as another consequence. There’s an array of additional risks. Catchment areas change – some expand, others diminish. You could uproot yourselves, changing jobs, paying stamp duty, removals costs, mortgage expenses and legal fees, and then find, when you sell up, that the catchment area has changed, wiping value off your property. And in the capital, where around a third of parents are thought to have bought or rented in order to make their children eligible for the right schools, the effect on property prices is an increase of over £80,000.
Ask someone just why it was they moved to Dorset and there’s a big chance they’ll tell you it was because they fell in love with the enchanting market town of Sherborne (not to be confused with Sherbourne, a small village in the West Midlands, although it does share some of the leafy charms of its homonymous West Country counterpart). If you’re feeling a pull towards this neck of the woods and perhaps tiring of the capital, then here’s a Master Remover guide to the attractions and advantages of Sherborne, a wonderful place either for bringing up families or enjoying a rich, fulfilled single life.
It’s on the water
Some of us just have to be close to water or we feel disconnected. The River Yeo runs through Sherborne (in some stretches, it’s known as the River Ivel), which is a fork off the River Parrett. If you can’t bear for the summer to pass without some wild swimming, and you no longer have options like The Serpentine or Hampstead Ponds, then you’ll find plenty of swimming spots on the Yeo, as well as banks that are perfect for sunbathing. Bring some fresh lemonade in the cooler, and you have the perfect afternoon at your disposal.
Market town and villages are prone to two opposing risks. Either they become too chi-chi for words, full of manicured boutiques and excessively titivated streets, or they fall prey to an excess of high street chains. Sherborne, not unlike Bridport, has managed to stay roughly in the middle. It feels authentic and unspoilt and it couldn’t be more different than the rather sterile, antiseptic environs of Poundbury. [HYPERLINK: ]
It’s got great rail links
Sherborne Railway station is on the Waterloo to Exeter line and services operate hourly. And compared to other parts of Dorset, you’re close to the capital which can be immensely reassuring if that’s where you’ve moved from. It’s a two-hour journey whereas other parts of Dorset take nearer to three. [HYPERLINK: ]
There’s a Waitrose
It’s a cliché, but, as with so many clichés, there’s an important truth within. If an area has a Waitrose, it tells you something about it. People like living there. It’s reasonably safe and established, not to mention family-friendly. You can get all the ingredient you need for recipes. It’s less dismal to walk around than some of the strip-lit supermarkets that always leave you feeling slightly depressed. [HYPERLINK: ]
It’s a market town
Market towns are delightful, great for meeting people, making friends and feeling the spirit of community. In Sherborne, market days are Thursday and Saturday, and there’s a farmers’ market on the third Friday of each month, a vintage market on the last Saturday of each month and a book fair on the third Saturday of every month. [HYPERLINK: ]SHERB
There’s a good hospital
No one wants to get ill but it’s inevitable. Sherborne’s hospital, The Yeatman, has a good reputation. If you think there’s any likelihood of you living out your days here, then that’s reassuring. Ditto if you have elderly relations here. [HYPERLINK: ]SHER
There’s the Sherborne Abbey Festival
If, like many new residents, you find yourself absolute transported by the beauty of Sherborne Abbey, then the annual festival, a community-binding programme of events recognised for its quality in 2017 by the Dorset Tourism Awards, who gave it their Gold award, will be perfect for you. The events in May include numerous appearances by the Abbey Choir, the Sherborne Young Singers, the Sherborne School Chamber Orchestra and many more local talents. The abbey itself, a Grade I listed building, dates back as far as the Saxon period. [HYPERLINK: ]
There’s the Sherborne Literary Festival
Any place that’s seriously on the map has its own literary festival, and Sherborne is no different. Although its 2018 programme has yet to be unveiled, it’ll take place in October, helmed by the Sherborne Literary Society [HYPERLINK: ]
There are wonderful properties
Whether you’re looking for new-builds, or anything from Elizabethan to Georgian, you can find it here. There are heart-meltingly attractive streets, near parks and other sources of greenery.
Auctions, antiques, a proper independent bookshop, an excellent garden centre – Sherborne has a bustling, old-fashioned character to its shopping. [HYPERLINK: ]
There’s Sherborne Castle
If all the above isn’t enough (and really, it’s only a small fraction of what Sherborne has in store for you), then don’t forget Sherborne Castle, a 16th Century Tudor mansion, with sumptuous, luxuriant gardens open to the public for most of the year. Concerts, firework shows and more are hosted here, too, in a programme of events. [HYPERLINK: ]
If you’re upping sticks from the capital and heading west, or just thinking about it, then here’s a Master Removers guide to help you understand what to expect…
It may not be a stampede but, nevertheless, there is an exodus of sorts taking place as in recent years people move from London to Bath in increasing numbers. Perhaps some are disillusioned by house prices or rent. Others realise that they can work from anywhere and don’t need to be in a capital city. More and more of them are drawn inexorably, as if by a magnet, to this Unesco World Heritage site, the great city of Bath. In the Jane Austen era, it was a stopping-off point for ‘taking the waters’ (a phrase meaning to drink or bathe in the renowned, mineral-rich waters of the city, a practice begun by the Celts and Romans more than 2000 years ago). Today, that’s still a popular experience, but instead of passing through, more Londoners are choosing to put down roots. After all, who wouldn’t be seduced by the lavish architecture of the Royal Crescent? Buyers from London now make up around 25 per cent of the market in Bath. Many of them want to escape the feeling of burn-out and and stress induced by London living and therefore disregard Bristol, where they perceive that more of the same will be on offer. Instead, they see the comparatively relaxed, small-town feel of Bath, and the pulchritude of its Regency look, and fall in love.
Why move to Bath?
Improved restaurants and shopping
In recent years, Bath has been catching up with the bigger cities in terms of what it can offer for eating, leisure and buying clothes. The Gainsborough has acquired a world-class chef, and you can also try to following restaurants – Lucknam Park (Michelin starred), Babington House (affiliated with Soho House in London) and The Pig.
Small-scale city life
In London, you’ll have become used to the convoluted business of seeing your friends. Travelling from one side to the other means setting aside an hour and a half at the bare minimum. That’s like travelling to Sussex, just to see a friend who supposedly lives in the same city as you. And even if you’re willing to make the journey, you’ll have noticed that lots of people aren’t. There might as well be border control at certain spots in London, because it’s as if we’re living in different countries. Bath is another world. With around 85,000 dwellers, it’s a bite-size city with a more relaxed pace and a friendlier disposition. You can walk from one end to the other in twenty minutes, and you’re never far from schools, theatres, clubs, universities. Moving here from London is like moving from Rome to Bologna. You’re in a city where doing what you want and seeing the people you love is easy and completely without stress. It’s bliss. Here’s some recent insight into people seeking the calmer pace of life in Bath:
If you were previously a commuter to London, living in one of the Home Counties, then you’ll know what a slog the beginning and end of each day were. The crammed trains, the hour-plus journeys, the sheer expense. In Bath, you can avail yourself of the Bristol jobs market and then make the 12-minute journey by train every day in less time than it takes to go four stops on the London Underground. If you’ve made peace with the idea of longer journey times, then London is still an option for your career, with a 90-minute duration for the train journey. Get an idea of journey times to and from Bath here: https://www.gwr.com/plan-journey/stations-and-routes/trains-to-bath
No culture shock
Moving to Bath isn’t like moving to the countryside or a village. In fact, with its wealth of culture, its fringe film festival, theatre, shopping, entertainment and air of conviviality, Bath is sometimes jokingly referred to as ‘West West London’. You won’t find yourself yearning to be back in the capital because so much of what you enjoyed about the capital is right here, right now. Check out Bath’s theatre-land here: http://www.whatsonstage.com/bath-theatre/
While Regency Crescent isn’t bursting with bargains by any stretch of the imagination, Bath as a whole is far less expensive when it comes to property. So, for example, that £500,000 property in the London is more likely to be around £300,000 in Bath. See more about the fluctuations in Bath property prices here: http://www.rightmove.co.uk/house-prices/Bath.html
London has its fair share of wonderful architecture, but it also has seething swathes of dismal, ugly, demoralising buildings. In Bath, almost everything is built using Bath stone, so even modern council houses look good. Every day, you’ll be uplifted by the views. This gorgeous Georgian city is a feast for the eyes that never depresses you. There’s a Museum of Bath Architecture, and you can find out about it here: http://museumofbatharchitecture.org.uk