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Move to a cheap area... Is this life's secret?

(142 Posts)
Pestopastamad Tue 28-Jan-20 20:19:25

I currently live in a 'nice' area in the north, which by northern standards is relatively expensive (most expensive postcode in our city).
My partner and I earn an okay combined salary, but a huge proportion of this goes on the house, it's still 'within our means' on paper, though. We both work full-time and haven't got a mortgage yet, we rent, but are looking to buy around where we live now in the next 12 months.

Lately, I've been feeling a bit fed up with our work-life balance, and weirdly I've noticed I feel very envious of the people I see at work who don't work/work part-time/ earn less than us but seem to still manage to own a house, buy what they like, drive nice cars and go on holidays.
It's made me wonder if I'm doing it all wrong and I'm questioning my decision to buy in an expensive area, when I could buy in a less desirable area for a fraction of the price and have a lot of money left at the end of the month.
I can't stop fantasising about a life of working part time , eating out constantly and travelling where I want when I want, because the mortgage would be so cheap.

Is there such a thing is a balance, finding a decent house in a 'middle ground' area, and having lots of disposable income left? Or is it a fantasy and would I just hate not living where I do now? All of my family (and most friends) live in the same postcode as we do now, and I am questioning my motives for wanting to stay around here - keeping up appearances/ what will the family think!! I wonder if this is common for those my my age group (mid to late 20's) because of the ridiculous cost of housing!

Please share your opinions and experiences...

Pestopastamad Tue 28-Jan-20 20:21:40

As not to drip feed, we both drive and own cars, to travelling to see family/friends/commuting isn't is issue really and it wouldn't be more than 20 minutes away in the car of we moved to the other side of the city.

aNonnyMouse1511 Tue 28-Jan-20 20:24:10

It depends doesn’t it on what’s comfortable for you. The less desirable areas where I live are not somewhere I would want to live and raise my children.

busybarbara Tue 28-Jan-20 20:25:57

Absolutely! This is the house equivalent of someone buying a cheap used car and running it into the ground rather than paying £1000 a month to lease a Range Rover. As long as you can handle the downsides and see your new home as cosy rather than small, fill your boots

isseywith4vampirecats Tue 28-Jan-20 20:28:15

same here five minutes from where I live I would not move into a house there if the house was being given away for free, but then again having some money in your pocket and feeling like you have worked for a reward not just to pay the bills has compensations, is there somewhere near that is middle ground decent place to live but not too far from your work and support network

Mamato2gorgeousboys Tue 28-Jan-20 20:28:26

How far away would the cheaper area be? Do you normally walk to see your friends and family or do you drive? If you drive, a bit further in the car may not be too bad.

IMO, living and enjoying life is more important than paying for a house. If you can, it’s great to eat out, travel and make memories. When you buy, also take into account if you will want to drop to part time or stay at home after maternity leave.

In theory, your incomes should go up over the next few years so that may make the house in the nicer area more affordable in the future, even if you were to buy now. Another option is to get a smaller house and look to move in 5 years time as your financial position may be different.

There are so many variables, it really is impossible to say. smile

TantricTwist Tue 28-Jan-20 20:30:11

Well a lot of the people I know who live in desirable houses with desirable post codes have inherited the money to be able to buy these properties and most of them are not inclined to divulge this aspect and like everyone to think they have a fab job with lots of income.

StillCoughingandLaughing Tue 28-Jan-20 20:31:35

Ask yourself WHY they are less desirable. If it’s something like poor connectivity, that might not be an issue if you both drive. If there are social problems in the area, that’s not so easy to overcome. They always say buy the worst house on the best street - you can upgrade your home, whereas the area is out of your control.

You’re fantasising about a life of eating out whenever you like and travelling more - but if you’re moving to an area where there’s only the odd curry house or carvery, and it takes you twice as long to get to the airport, will you really get the benefit?

I’m not saying it’s a stupid idea - just one that needs careful thought.

Urkiddingright Tue 28-Jan-20 20:31:54

Yes, we did this. We used to rent in a nice area in a big Northern city where we both work. When it came to buying we could only afford terraced houses in naffer areas of the city even though we had a budget of 200k. We made the decision to buy a 5 bedroom detached home in a small town instead. We now both have a 20-30 min commute (dependent on traffic) but it’s so worth it. The town itself isn’t awful but we don’t spend much time here really, there isn’t all that much to do. If you drive it really doesn’t matter though.

GSD20 Tue 28-Jan-20 20:33:47

We commute 30mins each into the bigger city.

We can afford much nice house this way!

TheReef Tue 28-Jan-20 20:35:03

The secret to being happy is not comparing yourself to others.

People who work part time, have nice cars etc, you don't know their circumstances, what goes on behind closed doors even if you think you know by them telling you. You don't know you're getting the whole truth.

But there is some truth about living a more frugal life. I live in a small house, in a cheaper area, but it's a nice quiet village. Some of my friends live in 800k houses, which they can afford. But in my circumstances I'm happy, cheaper mortgage, nice car, several holidays a year. But if I compared myself to my more well off friends, I could easily become very envious and unsatisfied

LangClegsOpinionIsNoted Tue 28-Jan-20 20:35:08

Sit down and do the sums. You might save 200pcm on the mortgage but be paying out on more expensive car and home insurance if your house is in a shitty postcode.

Are you going to have kids? What about schools? It will cost you at least 10k to sell and move house so if you decide to move in three years because you've now got a child and need to be in a better catchment, will you be able to do so?

Look at the crime rates - especially the types of crimes committed.

I moved out of the city to buy. It meant we got the cheaper house but we also got good schools, low crime rates and a generally decent place to have a family in, plus we could afford to buy a big enough house that we won't need to move again. Could you do similar?

Retroflex Tue 28-Jan-20 20:35:47

My mortgage costs less than half of what the rental value for my property is! Renting to me is like throwing money away, and if you have the means to buy, I'd highly recommend it. Yes, any problems are down to us to fix, rather than a housing association or private landlord, but realistically speaking, other than "home improvements" because we wanted a change, or replacing electrical applications which have broken down after decades of use, we haven't had any major "replacement" purchases at all...

user1497207191 Tue 28-Jan-20 20:36:10

There are often reasons why houses are cheaper in some areas, not just size! Before you move, check for other factors such as anti-social behaviour, street parking problems, etc.

I could sell and move to a huge house in a different area of town, in fact, where I used to live. But I'd be mad to do it because it's now a crime-ridden hell hole.

I'd far rather have a smaller house in a better area with no such problems.

Dollywilde Tue 28-Jan-20 20:36:30

Depends. I live in a part of London that isn’t seen as terribly desirable but we have a gorgeous flat with a garden and my mortgage is a sixth of our household income as opposed to the third that’s common amongst friends in nicer areas. It hasn’t bothered me historically as we tend to spend most of our leisure time near our friends in zone 2. It’s also meant we can afford to save the equivalent of our mortgage payment each month and has put us in a very comfortable position.

However, I’m now expecting our first child. We’ll be staying put in the area for the foreseeable as cheap mortgage while on maternity leave means we can afford to live nicely during this time, but we’ll be looking to move at some point between my return to work and DC starting school, as it’s not an area I really want to bring up DC in - there’s a lot of gangs and drugs in the area. Hopefully by that time our savings will be in a nice position to buy us the next rung up the area but further out of London.

gobbynorthernbird Tue 28-Jan-20 20:37:35

I live in Manchester and moved south to north for similar reasons to those you give. The area I moved to has a fairly low crime rate (certainly no more than where I lived previously), great public transport, and is a nice place to live. It just isn't posh or trendy.

Having said that, my area is being rapidly gentrified, and house prices are shooting up as a result. But, I think this is the same for any nice-but-boring part of Manchester.

Urkiddingright Tue 28-Jan-20 20:38:01

Mortgages are most definitely a lot cheaper. We saw a house on our estate to let so searched it, they were charging £900 pcm shock. We pay half that for the mortgage.

chocatoo Tue 28-Jan-20 20:38:12

I guess the trick is to identify an area that is going to be up and coming then it's a win win situation!

Redcliff Tue 28-Jan-20 20:40:49

I guess it depends on how bad the "bad" area is. Me and DH decided to buy a house in a less desirable area rather than a flat in a great area and I don't regret it. We currently have one income (my DH became a SHAD 5 years ago) and we can live ok on my salary (still have holidays and trips out) which we wouldn't have done if we were mortgaged up to our eyeballs and we couldn't have lived comfortably with our kids in a flat.

LisaSimpsonsbff Tue 28-Jan-20 20:41:12

We bought in one of the cheapest bits of an expensive commuter town - it worked really well for us before DS but we're looking to move now because it's not really where I want him to grow up, and especially it's not where I want him to go to school. We don't exactly magically have loads of spare cash just because we live somewhere a bit rubbish, though - though as I said it's the cheaper bit of an expensive place rather than outright cheap. Still, though, even if we halved our mortgage it would be nice but not life-changing in the way you describe. Certainly no one would be giving up work!

vincettenoir Tue 28-Jan-20 20:41:24

If your thoughts are leaning so much in this direction, then perhaps a move is the right thing for you. I am older than you and still spend a lot to live where I want to live because it suits me right now. But I think I am likely to move to a cheaper area in about ten years time.

Lunafortheloveogod Tue 28-Jan-20 20:42:13

There’s variables.. some areas might be cheap for a good reason.

We’re in a cheaper area out of town, 20minute drive without rush hour. But it’s a nice place that’s mostly bought houses, bungalows and family homes so it’s quiet if it’s not kids going past on bikes not teens smashed clambering home. There’s also a woodland to one side which has country walks and a football pitch further down, park at the top.. our downfall is that it’s shit for shops. 1.5miles to a teeny supermarket or a garage n that’s you. Besides small local shops (that sell random crap) or charity shops. The other parts of town are rougher.. a lot rougher.. as in a 3bed terrace is under £50k or a 1 bed accessible bungalow is under £30k. And they look visibly rough on the outside. Crime rates are also higher etc so we’d be mad to move 5 minutes across the village. But living outside of the main town saved us between £50k and £100k.. So we’ll be able to be mortgage free much younger and pay a smaller monthly payment until then.

KatnissMellark Tue 28-Jan-20 20:44:56

We live in a cheap area. We both drive ten year old cars. We have a lovely house. The schools are decent and not over subscribed. We host family and friends a lot as have lots of room. We've been able to afford years and years of IVF and now we're coming out the other side are looking forward to family holidays and a few luxuries. You (if you are lucky enough to have enough) allocate your money to what is important.

We went through years of people asking why we didn't move to London- the answer is our quality of life in a less 'desirable' part of the country is so much higher than it would otherwise be!

Jmaxx44 Tue 28-Jan-20 20:45:13

DH and myself pushed ourselves to buy a decent sized house in one of the better areas in our city. We could have bought something slightly smaller and/or in a cheaper area but decided against it when we did our research. We have quite a big mortgage compared to friends on a similar joint income so we have had to compromise on holidays, car upgrades etc. Personally I still feel like it’s worth it. I spend a lot of time at home or in our neighbourhood and every time I walk down the street I am glad we made our choice. I do feel jealous of friends who can afford a more luxurious lifestyle but they often reply that they wish they could afford to live in a home/neighbourhood like ours. Maybe if you sit down and plan your finances and see in black and white what the compromise would be on your lifestyle it will help you make your choice. Good luck with your new house (wherever it is!)

Blibbyblobby Tue 28-Jan-20 20:47:35

There are plenty of entirely pleasant areas between "the most expensive postcode in the city" and having a crack house next door.

Where you would lose out moving to a perfectly nice but not naice area is chi-chi facilities nearby - the posh gym, the independent butchers, the fancy cake shop, the gastropub that gets such good reviews, the yoga centre etc. So consider whether that's stuff you would miss.

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