29th Jun 2020

Finances - the Housing Market and Cost of Living

As the country starts to look beyond lockdown, more and more city dwellers are considering an escape to the country. In a series of articles Berwins’ property specialist Khal Shahjahan shares the tips he picked up from a career in property and by making the move himself.

Considering the housing market is of crucial importance as whilst property prices do vary, the regional differences overall can be huge.

Looking back, had we bought our first home in London rather than Brighouse (near Huddersfield), although we would have ended up with something much smaller and demure, after the 3/4 years of living there and selling on, I know we would have made a much bigger margin from our sale.

Moving for quality of life

The cliched (but true) dream to secure a greater "quality of life" by moving to the countryside superseded our personal want for increased equity being generated from our first home so this did not feature in our decision.

Generally, property prices are lower in the rural areas than within the major cities so whilst you could probably get something grander outside the city walls, in the long term, would it be a better investment to try and hold on to the city dwelling? Should you get advice from an independent financial advisor or perhaps, consider speaking to solicitors specialising in wealth planning such as Berwins, who could guide you along the way to reach the decision best for you? Food for thought.

As for cost of living, again, I am generalising here but overall, this does tend to be lower in most respects when going rural. From Council Tax and everyday shopping to a pint in the local pub or a meal out, everything does seem to generate more change than you may be used to.

Setting a budget

But whilst you may be saving your pennies there, do not forget if you need to go out and about, distances will be greater to get from point A to point B, adding to higher fuel expenses and wear and tear to your vehicle.

Heating too, we have definitely found, is more expensive in our old converted church than the lovely 5 year old semi-detached house we owned previously. Do not forget, the wide open spaces and country homes may look fantastic in warm sunny weather but do bring with them exposure to harsher winds and wilder storms, plus the older properties will probably not have the type of energy performance by way of eco heating systems and fancy insulation that you may find in newer breeds.

You may also find alternate fuel sources themselves will cost more too - our village does not have gas at all, so coal and kerosene oil are the sources of choice. The latter does not come cheap usually.

Ultimately, unless you are willing to spend a significant amount upgrading your property to ensure it has all the necessary mod cons you need, particularly insulation and efficient heat source, the lack of modern adaptations could end up costing you more than you thought! And trickier still, what if your dream home is a Grade II listed building - a minefield to navigate without the appropriate legal advice.

As well as being an advocate for country life, Khal Shahjahan is a property specialist with almost 20 yeas' legal experience. He specialises in all aspects of residential conveyancing. 

Khal and Berwins' dedicated and property team is here to help. If you've found your dream home or would like to discuss your property needs, please get in touch by calling 01423 509 000 or use our contact form online.

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