Sunday, November 04, 2007

There's a great, gaping hole!

There's a hole in the market, dear Liza, dear Liza.

As those of you who follow me on Facebook will have noticed from my recent status updates, we are househunting. We have outgrown our current house to the extent that our older son is currently occupying the conservatory. The conservatory is single-glazed glass, including the roof. It is autumn and he already has to have a heater on in there full time. I shudder to think what it's doing to our carbon footprint. Come midwinter, the conservatory will get colder than the inside of our fridge. We will have to get a more powerful heater and an electric blanket and will probably push our carbon footprint into the stratosphere! They may even name a hole in the ozone layer after us.

But I digress.

Property in England in expensive - especially in some key areas, one of them being the "commuter belt" - the area within an hour's train ride to London. Since my husband works in London (for an organisation that does not countenance telecommuting), we are compelled to live in this zone.

My search has revealed that it is possible to get a small 3 bedroomed house for around £160K about 20 miles away (closer to home, it looks more like £180K). I don't want a small 3-bedroomed house. I want a house with three decent sized bedrooms and a space to serve as a study/home office. I also insist on a garage so that my husband's ice hockey kit need never venture indoors (trust me - the area within smelling distance of an ice hockey player's extensive protective wear is not fit for human - or any - habitation!)

It seems these don't exist.

I tracked down a new development boasting 2, 3, 4 and 5 bedroomed houses. The two bedroomed houses go for £140K. The 3 bedroomed houses go for £160K. The 4 bedroom option for £260K. The...

Pause. Rewind.


You're kidding me, right? £160K to £260K in a single bound? What happened to all the perfectly useful numbers inbetween? Numbers like £180,756.24 or £201,743.68.

£100K for one bedroom?

Ah. But it's not just one bedroom. The 3-bedroomed house has a combined lounge/diner, only one bathroom and no additional space to have a study. And the bedrooms are small - especially the 3rd one, which will never house a teenage boy, his computer and three guitars. When you have two sons, you don't feel right about putting one into a bedroom that is half the size of the other's.

The 4-bedroomed house has a separate dining room. It may even have a utility room. It has three double sized bedrooms, two bathrooms (plus the downstairs loo), and a small room you can use as a study. At £260K, one would also hope that it has the capacity to clean itself and cook your dinner, but alas...

So instead of making a gradual climb up the property ladder, we find ourself faced with a monumental leap past what appears to be several missing rungs.

With my terminally allegorical, analogous bent, I find myself wondering whether I do this to my learners. I certainly see teenagers grappling with this kind of leap as they face the gear change from GCSEs to A levels. Am I guilty of the same? Do I design resources that make the switch from facile to PhD with an airy wave of the mouse?

I shall have to look into this! If my own reaction to the housing situation is anything to go by, I could be responsible for severe stress, insomnia and potential heart failure in my learners.

We can't have that!


Andy Roberts said...

House prices are falling, so you could rent a nice 4 bed house for 2 years then buy for £50,000 less money or 1/3 off

Anonymous said...

Andy: That's certainly an option several people are taking, but because we have only had this mortgage for two-and-a-bit years, we would have massive penalties to pay, so we're kind of restricted.