I was at our resident’s association quarterly meeting last night. I’m the treasurer, which is about the only way I put my FCA qualification to any serious use outside of work, and part of the discussion we had was how to monitor when new people move on to the estate so we can
tap them up for membership money welcome them to the community.
It turns out that Dave the Milkman used to the best source of intel on new people but as less and less people actually take milk from a milkman (we have a Waitrose about 100 yards away you see), he’s seen less and less on the estate so his information isn’t quite a reliable.
Still, despite the recession and general lack of lending, property sales in St Albans have always been fairly buoyant. We’ve been homeowners (well, in conjunction with the bank who provide our mortgage I suppose) in the city for over ten years now and house prices have now become just plan silly. They’ve built a new estate next to ours where the cheapest 3 bed house starts at £550,000, going up to over £1m for a 5 bed. Because they’re new builds, the decoration is good and the number of plug sockets useful, but the gardens are big enough for a BBQ or people, but not both at the same time. I’ve seriously never understood the lure of living somewhere with a garden that has less floor space than the house.
Our estate on the other hand was built in the late 60’s. Wifey often complains that our garden is small but I reckon it’s over one and a half times the size of the ground floor of our actual house, which can’t be bad. Yes, some parts of it need a bit of TLC and there are never enough plug sockets but as a family home it works much better. The fact that the vast majority of the interior walls are solid brick also helps as with three children there is always one in tears at night and it lets the other two get some kip.
What we tend to do though is play the Right Move Game which involves looking sporadically on RightMove at the sold prices in our area and roughly calculate how much equity we have in our place. We then spend ages looking around places we’d really like to live for houses we could etiher buy mortgage free or are just lovely. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong per se with out house- especially when the sunflowers are in bloom- but it’s a 60’s box lacking the charm of a house in countryside or at the seaside.
I think at heart though I’m a bit of a coward. I know what I have where we are. I have a safe and secure job I’m fairly good at, I know where we are and what we’re doing. Generally I don’t cope well with change and the idea of moving somewhere only for it fail and being unable to afford to move back keeps me awake at night when I think about it too much.
Still, it is fun being nosy about house prices, especially as you can see what the house has sold for in the last 7 years or so, so you can see the people who were canny and sold for a big profit and those who had to sell due to personal circumstance or overstretching themselves.