areas of the UK that are cheap-ish for houses now but bound to go up in value? + why is Nottingham so cheap?

(207 Posts)
allaflutter Thu 09-May-13 00:22:26

This would have to exclude South coast (Hastings and so on), and also the North proper, as I need easy access to London and other parts of the country.
Just find myself really hankering after space and a house or large maisonette, without other people living on top of you or on both sides (3 good size beds semi-detached ideally, or a flat on two top floors with loft space), having only lived and looked at flats in London and SW - I'm increasingly finding that a nice area doesn't compensate for the lack of space anymore. I think the older you get the more space you want!

The area has to be reasonably nice but not chi-chi, i.e. low crime levels and must have a train station with access to london ideally in 1hr but could stretch a bit. It also has to be quite green with nice surrounding country. Town or city. I can't do cottages or modern boxes, used to live in high ceilinged London flats.

So far I found a couple of nice looking places with cheap houses, but usually too far from London (i.e. around Harrogate - just great old houses there, small towns in SW). Or places like Abingdon in Oxon but no train station.

Well, there is Nottingham - some nice spacious period houses on rightmove, MUCH bigger than what you can get in many places. What I don't understand is why it takes so long on the train - are there plans for faster trains there? York is much faster even though further out. What's Nottingham really like? Is it likely to go up in value? Is it better than Sheffield which I know a little?

What about Stamford/Northampton to compare with Nott? In sw there is Chippenham and Swindon that are cheap but not attractive, are these places better in comparison?

I need to buy somewhere where prices are not going to drop and ideally rise as my cash income is low atm and it's important to invest well. My mum may well need to move in with me when a bit older too, so somewhere with buses a bonus. Oh and reasonably nice, friendly people a big bonus. School cattchments are not important.

If anyone is selling something like this, PM me - and maybe introduce me to a new area!
Sorry for the long saga...I'd be grateful for someone to help put an end to this frustration!

flow4 Thu 09-May-13 08:52:39

York is 20-30 mins beyond Wakefield, plus all the areas you'd want to live in are 20-30 mins from the station. And house prices are much higher than Wakefield! I wouldn't want a 2 hour commute myself, but lots of people do it, because the cost of living is lower and the quality of life is higher. smile

cq Thu 09-May-13 08:58:32

I'm about to sell a house in Mortimer, Berkshire. Walking distance to station. Good schools, nice village, lots of countryside around but only 5 mins from M4 and close to Reading for good shopping.
And my sister is about to sell her house in a little village in Lincolnshire, close to Newark.

Either of those two areas any good? What's your budget? I guess that depends on how much you need to spend on commuting.

Northampton does tick all of your boxes tbh.
The train station is having an expensive make over and one day this century the shopping centre will too. grin

lottiegarbanzo Thu 09-May-13 09:28:10

Hello from Nottingham (and I have a 3 bed house on the market!). You need to give us some numbers before we can really help. What's your budget?

Nottingham is not so cheap but does have a wide range of areas, so almost every possible price is represented. So there are some very cheap bits where you probably wouldn't want to live (St Anns, Broxtowe Estate, parts of Basford), some scruffy but ok bits where you get great value if you don't mind high density terraced housing and tiny or no gardens (Sneinton, Old Meadows), some nice residential areas a bit further out of town (Mapperley, thorneywood), nice residential areas close to big parks or the river (Wollaton, Beeston - train station here too), more expensive areas because of school catchments (West bridgford but Lady Bay is the cheaper end, big Victorian houses, all convenient for town and train station) and the properly expensive (The Park). There are expensive villages nearby (Southwell, Colston Bassett), mid-range ones (Keyworth) and ex-mining villages (Cotgrave, Newstead).

The East Coast main line (Peterborough, Grantham, York) has been electrified for years and is much faster. The Midland Mainline is going to be electrified, you'd have to look it up for dates.

Being outside standard commuter range for London explains something about prices. Nottingham has occasional bad press for crime (e.g. greatest rise in gun crime a few years ago - but actual figures were still much lower per head of population than in Manchester for example - it's all about catchy headlines). Burglary figures are high but of course that is concentrated in student and low income areas.

greenformica Thu 09-May-13 11:02:34

Nottingham has crazy crime rates.

Cirencester is great. Pleasant small old town with good facitilites (hosptial, leisure center, cafes, bank, river etc) town situated in the Cotswolds. Trains very very close by in Kemble.

greenformica Thu 09-May-13 11:02:45

Reasonable house prices.

senua Thu 09-May-13 11:26:53

Would Leamington (Regency town) or Warwick (countryside) do? Near Warwick Parkway WRP station, not Warwick WRW.

lottiegarbanzo Thu 09-May-13 11:33:42

As to what Nottingham is like, it is like a large version of a market town. There's a big market square and the town centre is very centralised and compact. The big positive is that's it's big enough to support two theatres, a very good independent cinema, two art galleries centrally, others elsewhere, lots of restaurants and shops and, they are all central and easily walkable. Buses are excellent. I think it's won awards for its service.

The slight downside is that if you go into town on a Saturday night, it is a like a market town but on a large scale. Herds of young men and young women, wearing very little, very drunk, roaming the square and environs. It's quite a sociological phenomenon and always astounds overseas visitors who are used to wearing more clothes. There are restauarants and bars in many suburbs though; Beeston, West Bridgford, Sherwood etc. and it's perfectly possible to do your thing in town and negotiate the drunken semi-naked people without too much distraction. (I know this a British thing and happens everywhere, it's the scale, in one small area, that's remarkable).

It took me a while to get to grips with its 'character' as that wasn't immediately obvious. While it has two universities, it is fundamentally a commercial city and doesn't have the character of a smaller university or catherdral city. The town centre architecture is a hotch potch with some awful 60s-70s development. The only central area with an architecturally coherent, attractive style is the lace market area, which is all apartments and bars now. There is a lack of green space compared to other cities; a few lovely large areas at Attenborough, Wollaton Park, Colwick Park and along the river but the centre and northern residential areas are pretty bereft.

As for crime. Well, if you are drug dealer and planning to relocate your business here, I'm sure you will find established local competitors who may express their objection violently. If however you are an ordinary, law-abiding person, the only way serious crime is likely to affect you is through burglary to fuel someone's drug-buying, most likely if you live in a poorer neighbourhood as the opportunist burglar just isn't very strategic.

Btw, I've seen a few recommendations for Newark here. It's quite pretty but very 'local' and frankly, dull. If you want any sort of social life, live in Nottingham and visit Newark once to see the ruined castle, market and antique shops.

apatchylass Thu 09-May-13 11:43:53

I've always wondered about Stoke and Stafford. Never visited either of them, but they look really lovely from the train - lots of really eye-catching countryside and houses around. And with the potteries there must be some interesting history and architecture.

You get loads for your money round there. Just had a look online and seen 3 bed cottages - very pretty, for £85k. They'd go for £300-400k in Surrey

fatsamsgrandslam Thu 09-May-13 11:49:18

What about Kettering? Market Harborough?

Tizwozliz Thu 09-May-13 12:15:41

Statistics including crime rates in Nottingham are misleading. Nottingham city is a very small geographical area which includes all the not so nice suburbs while a lot of the nicer ones fall outside the city boundary in gedling, rushcliffe and broxtowe.

Wages are also lower than elsewhere which has an effect on house prices

landofsoapandglory Thu 09-May-13 12:23:04

Stamford is lovely, but so are a lot of villages/towns on the outskirts of Nottingham. We live quite near to Stamford but always go to Nottingham for shopping, theatre, concerts etc. If you want a bit of 'life', you'd be better off looking nearer to Nottingham IMO.

PILs live in Radcliffe on Trent which is really nice, and very accessible to Nottingham, although can be a bit of a PITA at rush hour.

Re crime rates etc, I thought they had gone down in Notts.

DewDr0p Thu 09-May-13 12:39:09

Crime has fallen in Nottingham in recent years. There are some dodgy bits though. Great for shopping! But it has a bad reputation for schools.

We have friends who live in West Bridgeford who love it but they have no kids.

Tizwozliz Thu 09-May-13 12:43:42

West Bridgford has no e

Bingham was named as the best location to live in the East Midlands.

If you're looking commutable to London HS2 phase 2 might happen, in which case you want to be west of Nottingham - Long Eaton area

lottiegarbanzo Thu 09-May-13 12:46:55

West Bridgford is where the really good schools are. As a consequence it is teeming with children and house prices are inflated.

As with crime, school stats are distorted by the city boundary. WB, though only 25 mins walk from Nottingham town centre at the river end, is not in Nottingham City but Rushcliffe (a borough of Nottinghamshire).

OP we don't know your budget but, if anywhere between £150k and £300k you can get a 3-4 bed house in a nice bit of Nottingham. I'd suggest looking at Lady Bay and Beeston for Victorian houses, Wilford and Wollaton for 1930s onwards.

ArtexMonkey Thu 09-May-13 13:03:08

Sheffield is great, and we are getting the high speed rail link. As well as being a really nice friendly place to live, we have people making great music, art and films here, an independent cinema, good theatres, lots of parks and green spaces... Where we live we can walk into town in 20 mins, and drive to the Peak District in 15.

Nottingham? They call it Shottingham don't they? Braaaaaap! Nice shops though, I'll give em that.

defineme Thu 09-May-13 14:43:07

Very interesting comments about Nottingham. I've never thought about why I feel comfortable here, but the descriptions of it being a large market town with scantily clad young people at night +culture +posh suburbs: it's exactly like Newcastle which is where I'm from!

I live in West Bridgford op, but please don't come here, the schools are brilliant but full and the house prices keep going up cos everybody wants to live here.

allaflutter Thu 09-May-13 16:39:06

Ooo, exchiting - lots of friendly and informative replies!

Sorry that I won't be mentioning all posters' names as I can't scroll to prev page, but i have new questions now!

I do now live outside of London now (about 2hrs journey from Lon) so I know all about huge train travel costs! <sigh>. I want to move nearer to London to cut the time and pay less for trains. Don;t need to commute daily but on average 2 days a week BUT I also need good connections to other plaves in the UK so I don't want to be near any coasts, Essex is not great for that either.

I have been to quite a few towns but all for a day. Been to Nott'm long time ago and thought the town centre was attarctive and lively but had no idea about crime! thought that prices mainly reflect the slow train to london. The nice 4 bed shock semis I saw on rightmove were in and near Sherwood - is that still Nott'm per se? I think I'm not so keen now - not just the crime (God, the poster who described a friend who was burgled AND nerighbour killed on doorstep shock) but also someone mentioned lack of parks, which is crucial to me. Just curious whether the shhotings are in the estates mainly, or in the town centre too?It also sounds like train times are not going to get shorter anytime soon - shame! unless someone knows any different.
Funny about hordes of near-naked rowdy teenagers - I've been to Newcastle a long time ago and immediately had the vision of it when I read this, all quite cheery and lively too, thought Nott was not as 'young'. lottie you are a mine of knowledge, thanks!

I've considered Sheffiled before, mainly for the lush greenery and being clean and quite cheap, but it's still too farfrom Lond for me. I also dislike THAT amount of hills, hard to walk around town on daily basis if tired or bad weather.

I'm now interested to know about Newark - I honestly never even heard of it apart from havinf huge antique fair which I thought was in a stadium or some such, but didn't know there was a small nice town! I love antiques so that's a bonus. But could you tell me more about other shops and facilities, and is it really just 1h15 to Lon?

Also very interested to know aabout Northampton - how does it compare to Stamford? is it a bit too modernm re architecture? parks? Also what aer people like in Stamford/Northampton - not too snobby? are there shops and plades to eat, even of not big variety?

The thing is I want some shops/nice cafes being walking distance but I don't mind a place being quiet if it's an hour from London. If it getts to 1h30 min it has to offer more. I really don't want a journey of more than about 1'20 unless the house is by the station!

Chippenham is a funny place, I don't get it why Bath has a lot to offer but Chip has just nothing there (almost) - don't fancy the idea of always catching the train to Bath on daily basis, also nowhere to eat in the evenings there and not sure about parks.Ciren I've been to - small and no train station (don't wantto drive every time to station) and dire buses.
I'm happy not to be walking distance fromn station but then there has to be a frequent easy bus (for Mum too potentially).

York - nice but too far and too expensive.

Budget - by cheapish I mean 250 max to actually pay (saking can be higher) but obv even better of less. In Nott'm you can get 4beds for that! happy with 3 beds but closer to Lon but it has to be period and greenery nearby.

Warwick I think still too far from what I know - isn't it nearly 2hrs? not cheap really (nor L.Spa). Unless I've missed something.

Oh yes, Ely would appeal to me, small but near Cambridge - I didn't think it was cheap though, could you recommend areas? maybe there was just nothing on rightmove there. and how long is it to Lon (same line as Camb or slow)?

Thanks all so much!

allaflutter Thu 09-May-13 16:43:02

Definitely want to avoid areas that are expensive purely due to good schools, my one advantage in property search that I don't need to lood at catchments, so hoping for somewhere cheaper though generally family areas are nice, rather than pensioner towns or student'dominated.

Bedfordshire - which of these places have fast(er) trains to Lon? is it picturesque?

Places we looked at, liked, but ruled out due to schools are:
Biggleswade
Bedford
Colchester

allaflutter Thu 09-May-13 16:54:10

sorry, lots of 'of' instead of 'if's, etc... there was a lot to type!grin

allaflutter Thu 09-May-13 16:58:41

thanks, Lula, Colchester out as I've explained too far from anywhere (bar Lon) and I also heard it's not great from someone who lives there.
Bedford (and -shire) is a gap in my knowledge, what's good about it? how long the journey? I think I might have looked on rightmove and it was lack of period charm that I vaguely remember, maybe wrongly, all very bland?

LadyMaryQuiteContrary Thu 09-May-13 17:02:55

Nottingham is actually very nice but it does depend on the area. We moved here in June and have had no problems. I have no idea about the state schools though. Ignore the crime rates, it's actually very low but any problems are blown up by the media so they appear larger than they are. It is a large city so when you look at the crime rate per capita it's low.

MrsPnut Thu 09-May-13 17:05:16

Newark is a pretty market town. The market runs on a Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday with a great mix of stalls. The shops are mostly independant and there are some lovely restaurants. Supermarkets are waitrose, morrisons, aldi and asda and there are some good butchers and delis in the town.

I live about 8 miles from Newark and we visit the place pretty regularly. Trains go from Northgate to London and North bound, from Castlegate you can travel to Nottingham and Lincoln.

We visited Bedford and it has chunks of period housing. We liked the area around Victoria Park and the Embankment, but the schools were crap. Unfortunately I don't know much more than that as we then gave up on it.

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