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Old question again - flat in zone 1 or house on the outskirts of London

(20 Posts)
karmi2010 Fri 04-Nov-16 13:51:27

I have a terraced house in London zone 3. It was OK for me previously, but now I have a 10-months old DD and schools around aren't great so thinking of moving. I work in the City of London and my commute is just over an hour now. I am a single mum and have my mother living with me who is looking after my DD. This will be my home for the next 10 years or so, and realistically I need 3 bed, ideally with a garden or terrace/balcony.

Now the dilemma - when I sell the house, I can either afford a 3-bed ex-council flat somewhere closer to the centre of London and shorten my commute to 30mins or so, or get a nice house somewhere in zone 5, the commute will then be the same (hopefully) 1 hour or 1.10min.

I always thought that when I sell, I will move further out into a nicer house with more space and bigger garden, but when I started work a couple of months ago I realised that I really struggle with an hour commute - I work long hours and at the moment only see my DD for 30mins a day before she goes to sleep...

What did people do in similar circumstances? And have you regretted your decision?

Thank you!

DameDiazepamTheDramaQueen Fri 04-Nov-16 13:53:16

I'd look at schooling rather than housing tbh and see what that throws up.

Notyetthere Fri 04-Nov-16 14:09:19

Definitely schooling first. Look at SE London like Bromley borough(Hayes/West Wickham/Beckenham/Shortlands, etc ) that have great schools and the national rail trains get to Cannon street within 20-45mins.

karmi2010 Fri 04-Nov-16 14:18:49

DameDiazepam - thank you! That's already taking into account schools - I would be able to afford either a ex-LA flat in the centre near good schools or a house in zone 5-6, also near good schools...

My problem is, I can't decide what I will regret more - if I move into an ex-LA flat, will I then keep thinking that it isn't as nice, is in an estate, what will parents of other kids from school say etc? And if I move further other, will I then be regretting that I spend an extra hour or even more on the train instead of spending it with my DD?

karmi2010 Fri 04-Nov-16 14:23:07

Thanks Notyetthere!

To be honest, 20-45mins is what I want to avoid - if I add 10mins to it to and from the station, that's the same hour I have now ((

I have friends in Beckenham and Bromley though, and it is one of the areas I am considering for the house!

EleanorRigby123 Fri 04-Nov-16 14:27:18

Primary school places in Central London are so dependent on exactly where you live down to the nearest few metres. So unless your proposed flat is next door to a consistently outstanding school there may be no advantage in a move. You may find your DC are allocated a place in a school you did not choose.
I would go for the larger, nicer house in the suburbs. Your DC will have a better chance of accessing good schools at primary level and a better quality of life with more space, less air pollution, and more opportunities for a bit of freedom - you cannot let children out on their own in Central London because of the traffic which IMO has an adverse impact on their development.
The commute will not be great for you, but it is not long by London standards and your weekends will be better.

RicStar Fri 04-Nov-16 14:34:41

We went for smaller property but more central - we are on zone 2_3 border so maybe not as central as you are thinking. We have great parks, great school, I can run to work in central London or super quick train commute. So much for kids to do often cheap / free. Wide range of lovely kids at dds school. DH see kids in am and (OK only sometimes) in the pm despite long hours. I guess I am saying can't you stay roughly where you are just closer to a good school?

sarahd100 Fri 04-Nov-16 14:40:08

I think a lot depends on the type of commute rather than the length of time - for example, is it one straight train to the City, or do you have to do multiple changes? I live in Surrey at the moment and also work in the City - my commute consists of a 20 minute drive to the station, a 30-40 minute train journey (standing up of course), then struggling through the crowds to the Waterloo & City Line, and then through to Bank. Although this usually takes me around 1hr 15-1hr30 in total, I am exhausted every single evening! If I was just sitting down on a train for the whole journey I don't think I'd mind.

My recommendation would be to pick a commuter town further out of London with good transport links. It will be much nicer to have more space for your family - you have to remember that although you only get to enjoy the house during evenings and weekends, your child will spend much more time there!

Bear2014 Fri 04-Nov-16 14:50:28

I can see the temptation. We moved from a 2-bed top floor flat in zone 2 to a 3-bed house on zone 2/3 fringes when DD was 20 months. When she was 10 months we loved our flat, by the time she was 15 months and charging around we hated it. So that's one thing to bear in mind. Commute is a bit longer but it's worth it to us. And the weekends are nicer.

You say you only see your DD for a short time per day. Is there any way you could change your working hours or negotiate a day per week working from home? They legally have to consider your request as you are a parent. You may find she stays up a bit later as she gets older too.

Your mum lives with you - what does she think? The burbs might suit her better, or she might like the idea of being in town...?

realhousewifeoffitzrovia Fri 04-Nov-16 14:52:44

Whereabouts are you, RicStar, if you don't mind saying? That sounds perfect for OP. I think anything more than a 45-minute commute is not worth the trade-off in additional space. Sounds like you have found the right balance!

Briette Fri 04-Nov-16 15:04:35

Having recently purchased ex-LA I can add that nobody has said anything about it and how it reflects on me. If they did, I would no longer be listening to their opinions in future.

I chose the longer commute, but if you can afford to cut it down (I couldn't) and can deal with the fact that your home isn't as fancy as you'd like it to be, then it sounds as though the quality of life improvements from a shorter commute are quite compelling. Long commutes feel longer when something happens (e.g. sick DD, problem at school, or someone getting locked out), and the exhaustion never really goes away.

Bear2014 Fri 04-Nov-16 15:26:32

Our house is also ex-LA. It's a lovely place to live - big, light rooms and easy to maintain. Neighbours are all nice. No one has batted an eyelid in our families or social circle and if they did I can't say we would care.

IHeartHoumous Fri 04-Nov-16 15:48:20

Depending where you work OP the following may be useful (all direct trains):

Overground from Anerley (zone 4) to London Bridge = 21 minutes
Central line from Wanstead (zone 4) to Bank = 18 minutes
Overground from Harrow & Wealdstone (zone 5) to Euston = 12 minutes
Met line from Harrow on the Hill (zone 5) to Euston Square = 23 minutes
Overground from Bushey (zone 8) to Euston = 18 minutes
Overground from Hampton Wick (zone 6) to Waterloo = 34 minutes

karmi2010 Fri 04-Nov-16 15:55:53

Sorry for delays in responding, I am extremely grateful for all opinions and suggestions, and will be carefully considering them! Lot of things to think now! Thank you all very much again!

IHeartHoumous - thank you! Only Wanstead would work of these unfortunately, as I need to be between Chancery Lane and Blackfriars! And more west of the centre as all friends are west and south-west.

RicStar Mon 07-Nov-16 16:55:26

Just saw this I am between Herne hill and Tulse hill an area which I think op is investigating ...

Svalberg Mon 07-Nov-16 17:22:07

Don't forget that Crossrail (Elizabeth Line) will be operational late 2018 which may widen your options. The central stations that you'd be interested in, I guess, would be Liverpool St/Moorgate, Farringdon and Tottenham Court Road. It goes out East to Shenfield and Abbey Wood, and West to Reading. Anywhere along its route is going to lead to a shorter commute.

phoria Mon 07-Nov-16 17:34:08

I've not had this dilemma (if only I could afford a 3 bed!) but there is a well known concept called the commuter fallacy - - basically people tend to go for space/nicer house over a short commute but end up more miserable.

If I were you I'd go for the ex-LA as you're not really sacrificing on space, just how nice the building looks on the inside. Sounds like a shorter commute would make you happier.

karmi2010 Mon 07-Nov-16 18:46:45

RicStar - your are right, Herne Hill/Tulse Hill is definitely the area I am considering, together with zone 1 smile
The only problem is, I would really like something nicer (outside) than the ex-local authority house, as this is what I already have at the moment smile would have stayed where I am as we will have Crossrail coming, but the catchment schools aren't great here....

SexNamesRFab Tue 08-Nov-16 15:42:45

Others have said it already, but living in zone 5/6 with an easy commute (i.e. one reliable overground train) can be just as short/shorter than living in zone 3 but having to rely on tubes/buses. I live in zone 5 but 10 mins away from the station and with a direct train into central London, so spend less time commuting than friends in z2/3.

So tell us which overground stations are nearest your job then we can find you the nicest places which would be easiest to commute to?

karmi2010 Tue 08-Nov-16 16:28:04

Hi, many thanks, SexNamesRFab!

I need to commute to very close to Chancery Lane station, so ideally need Thameslink as the closest train stations would be Farringdon and City Thameslink.

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