I love where we live. I really, really do. It is a beautiful market town in the Home Counties, close enough for Mr. S to be able to commute into London each day, and far enough outside of London to be able to breathe in the fresh air from the countryside. My boy and my girl are happy, we have wonderful friends living here too, along with some other family members living close by, and life is good.
When I was 3 years old my parents moved to this very town from London. Better prospects for me, and cheaper housing for them.
I believe at the time they paid less for the large 4 bed detached house we moved to than what they got for the pokey 3 bed mid terrace in West London (of course, this would still most likely be the case now, everywhere is cheaper than London.)
I loved growing up here so much that I decided that I wanted to bring up my own family here too. I know no different after all.
Mr. S and I have both family and friends dotted around in various locations around the UK. Norfolk, Shropshire, North Wales, Somerset, Devon and Bedfordshire to name but a few.
We love exploring new places and taking trips out when we visit the people who live in these places. I often think to myself. “I bet it must be lovely to live here.”
I do the classic thing everyone does of getting my phone out and going on Rightmove and have a nose at the houses in the area. 9 times out of 10 I am absolutely gobsmacked at the price comparison between where we live and the town I am looking at.
Our house is nothing special. A mass-produced, semi-detached on a cul-de-sac. We could be anywhere really. No breathtaking views, or character features and the house itself needs a bit of work. But, due to the fast (when it wants to be) rail connection to London, excellent schools and the fact that Londoners head here in a flash when they want to upsize once they too are out priced of London, comparatively house prices are extortionate.
I often think to myself “What are we actually doing here? What are we actually gaining by living here as opposed to somewhere else?” We could be living in the exact same house somewhere else for £200k cheaper.
Yes the schools here are great, well renowned even. But, does that have a reflection on my children’s future prospects? Most probably not. It is the way that they are raised that counts. I know of people who went to horrendous failing schools in inner-cities and they are now doing remarkably well for themselves as adults. On the flip-side, I also know of people who attended these well renowned schools who are now in dead-end jobs struggling to make ends meet.
I look at the people that we go to visit and see that they are happy. Happy with their home, happy in their community, have wonderful friends who are just as happy living where they live alongside them, and happy with their surroundings. And to top it all off, because they are so far away from London, their homes are a fraction of the cost of what we have paid, to achieve the same level of happiness.
The thing is, working in London does pay well (not that you really notice once you’ve been screwed over by National Rail for your season ticket) If you worked elsewhere your salary would most likely significantly drop.
But then again, you wouldn’t have such a big mortgage/rent charge because housing is cheaper the further out you go.
I often think to myself how lovely it would be to live somewhere by the coast or up in the lakes, being able to go and sit by the beach on a warm day after school.
In reality, I will probably live here, in this overpriced middle-class market town forever, as I am not a risk taker and I would be too scared take the plunge, but part of me would love to move away, start afresh, away from all the postcode envy, the rat race, where salary isn’t the be all and end all to life. Maybe we would see more of Mr. S as he wouldn’t be spending half his life sitting (or standing as the case is, most of the time) on the train. It’s so tempting, it really is.
Have you taken the plunge and started afresh? I would love to hear your story.