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#1 Bes

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Posted 27 August 2011 - 04:57 PM

Hi chaps and chapesses,

Basically the wife and I live in London but grow tired of waiting for this house price crash to come along. We can't afford anything decent in London.

We are thinking about moving back to Bath and buying something. We both like the idea of being in the city whilst we are still young, so are thinking about looking at property in Central Bath (BA1)- in particular the bathstone flats.

Now, there is no way on earth I would buy a moden flat, but these old ones should hold their value quite well and be 'crash resistent' to a degree- given Bath is a world heritage site so virtually nothing can be knocked down/ built in the city centre, and they are the desirable bathstone- built buildings.

To me, the prices don't look too bad, (260-280K for a large 3 bedder) but perhaps I am taking a coloured view from being stuck in London for too long and seeing everything at crazy prices.

Any opinions on buying these, or has anyone lived in one and care to share any experiences?

Thanks

Edited by Bes, 27 August 2011 - 04:58 PM.


#2 browneconomy

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Posted 28 August 2011 - 11:30 AM

Hi,
My advice- with the caveat that I haven't lived in Bath since 2003 but I do visit regularly:


I bought a one bed flat in Great Pulteney St in 1986 for £33k I had it valued in 1989 £75k it's value fell to about £45k by 2002 and sold 2001 £120k. GPS is one of the 'best' addresses in Bath and as you can appreciate from my experiences prices CAN go down.


You will pay a premium for a Georgian property which will in the Bath market always be more saleable but I think the golden rule is, as always, location, location, location.
Be wary of buying in a less desirable area. Looking at Rightmove there are a number of 3 bed flats in your price range along the London Road but (personally) I'd avoid because it can be noisy & can be 'rough'. How can I explain; moving from London, Bath will seem quiet and safe but locals will 'know' what area to avoid. Without local knowledge I suggest you subscribe to the local paper (Bath Chronicle) for a couple of months perusing the crime pages.

But the best thing is to visit Bath a few times, do the tourist things and WALK look for the cars parked - as a general rule nicer area have nicer cars! Lots of the Georgian flats are/were owned by the Council and you can have some 'social' housing which can be a problem because the soundproofing between floors in the old converted flats can be poor.

#3 Bes

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Posted 28 August 2011 - 12:04 PM

Hi,
My advice- with the caveat that I haven't lived in Bath since 2003 but I do visit regularly:


I bought a one bed flat in Great Pulteney St in 1986 for £33k I had it valued in 1989 £75k it's value fell to about £45k by 2002 and sold 2001 £120k. GPS is one of the 'best' addresses in Bath and as you can appreciate from my experiences prices CAN go down.


You will pay a premium for a Georgian property which will in the Bath market always be more saleable but I think the golden rule is, as always, location, location, location.
Be wary of buying in a less desirable area. Looking at Rightmove there are a number of 3 bed flats in your price range along the London Road but (personally) I'd avoid because it can be noisy & can be 'rough'. How can I explain; moving from London, Bath will seem quiet and safe but locals will 'know' what area to avoid. Without local knowledge I suggest you subscribe to the local paper (Bath Chronicle) for a couple of months perusing the crime pages.

But the best thing is to visit Bath a few times, do the tourist things and WALK look for the cars parked - as a general rule nicer area have nicer cars! Lots of the Georgian flats are/were owned by the Council and you can have some 'social' housing which can be a problem because the soundproofing between floors in the old converted flats can be poor.


That's great- thanks. I should probably add that I already know Bath, and my mother, sister, etc live around 20 minutes from the city (Towards Midsomer Norton).


I have never actually lived in the city itself though, hence my asking- there are a couple of nice looking places up near the Circus/ Lansdown Road- I kind of assumed this would be a good area.

I had no idea some of those flats were social housing though, so thanks for that. We might go and view a couple just to see what they are like, how noisy they are, etc.

Thanks

#4 porca misèria

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Posted 30 August 2011 - 05:21 PM

That's great- thanks. I should probably add that I already know Bath, and my mother, sister, etc live around 20 minutes from the city (Towards Midsomer Norton).


I have never actually lived in the city itself though, hence my asking- there are a couple of nice looking places up near the Circus/ Lansdown Road- I kind of assumed this would be a good area.

I had no idea some of those flats were social housing though, so thanks for that. We might go and view a couple just to see what they are like, how noisy they are, etc.

Thanks

There are indeed some nice places up there.
Just beware of anything involving the Bath Mafia. Google tells me "West of England Estate Management" still casts a shadow.

#5 minkeygirl

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Posted 08 September 2011 - 09:00 PM

That's great- thanks. I should probably add that I already know Bath, and my mother, sister, etc live around 20 minutes from the city (Towards Midsomer Norton).


I have never actually lived in the city itself though, hence my asking- there are a couple of nice looking places up near the Circus/ Lansdown Road- I kind of assumed this would be a good area.

I had no idea some of those flats were social housing though, so thanks for that. We might go and view a couple just to see what they are like, how noisy they are, etc.

Thanks


I live in the Circus / Lansdown Road area and find it an excellent area to live (my only niggle is the parking problem - only 1 residents permit per property). However, there are some areas to avoid...

Bath is unlike anywhere else I have lived, because you can literally go from desirable area to highly undesirable in 50metres. For example, The Circus / Bennett St / Brock St northwards to Rivers St is lovely. 50metres north of this is Julian Road / Morford St / E Portland Place - full of drunks / drug addicts swearing at you in the street. Just north of this is Cavendish Road/Sion Hill which are truely stunning and peaceful (mainly cos the drunks cant be bothered to walk up the hill!). Local knowledge is vital.

I've lived in 4 bathstone flats, and have never had a problem with noise, though I may just have been lucky. It may also be due to the fact that we tend to choose 1st / 2nd Floor for the combination of ceiling height, view and light - so we avoid the front door banging. For info, several locals have warned me of damp and poor water presssure in low lying areas (eg Great Pulteney Street), but I've never lived there.

As for value, it will be interesting to see what happens to the Bath property market over the next year or two. With the MOD closing all its Bath sites next year, thousands of jobs and a large part of the local economy will go. Coupled with the stagnant market I wouldn't be surprised if there was a drop in values (despite the local paper's assertion that Bath is the "City that can't be Crunched!"). Though I hope any drop would be drastic (as a FTB) - my head says that residual values in the area will remain high, as it is such a stunning place to live.

#6 Bes

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Posted 09 September 2011 - 11:26 AM

I live in the Circus / Lansdown Road area and find it an excellent area to live (my only niggle is the parking problem - only 1 residents permit per property). However, there are some areas to avoid...

Bath is unlike anywhere else I have lived, because you can literally go from desirable area to highly undesirable in 50metres. For example, The Circus / Bennett St / Brock St northwards to Rivers St is lovely. 50metres north of this is Julian Road / Morford St / E Portland Place - full of drunks / drug addicts swearing at you in the street. Just north of this is Cavendish Road/Sion Hill which are truely stunning and peaceful (mainly cos the drunks cant be bothered to walk up the hill!). Local knowledge is vital.

I've lived in 4 bathstone flats, and have never had a problem with noise, though I may just have been lucky. It may also be due to the fact that we tend to choose 1st / 2nd Floor for the combination of ceiling height, view and light - so we avoid the front door banging. For info, several locals have warned me of damp and poor water presssure in low lying areas (eg Great Pulteney Street), but I've never lived there.

As for value, it will be interesting to see what happens to the Bath property market over the next year or two. With the MOD closing all its Bath sites next year, thousands of jobs and a large part of the local economy will go. Coupled with the stagnant market I wouldn't be surprised if there was a drop in values (despite the local paper's assertion that Bath is the "City that can't be Crunched!"). Though I hope any drop would be drastic (as a FTB) - my head says that residual values in the area will remain high, as it is such a stunning place to live.


Thanks that is great info- also I will keep my eyes peeled for "West of England Estate Management" :)

#7 oligotroph

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Posted 09 September 2011 - 06:56 PM

Some more tips

Many of the "newer" bath stone properties i.e. 1800-1900 were done to an outline plan with individual builders building individual blocks, this means that they can vary enormously on the same street, no 21 may have terrible sound insulation but no. 22 may be fine.

If you are looking at flats, a lot of these have been converted from family homes rather than being purpose built as flats, these tend to have poor sound insulation. They can sometimes be hard to spot because often these conversions were done 50 - 100 years ago. Noise is not helped by the council fitting 'fire closers' which make every front door slam loudly (they can be adjusted but most people don't seem to bother).

Another thing to consider is that a few blocks were bombed in the second world war and rebuilt in the 1950's, bits of Lansdown Crescent and a few others, the frontage of these look perfect but the insides are just like a cheap council block, I would avoid them.

Great Pulteney St. has had problems with flooding and subsidence, if you stand at one end and look along the guttering you can see the blocks which have moved out of line. On grade 1 property fixing any problems like this costs a FORTUNE.

There are a lot of buy-to-sit properties in Bath sitting empty, if you have a few of those as neighbours you can expect huge heating bills.

In general you want to be north of the river, the south is a bit studenty and suburban.

This probably all sounds a bit negative but overall even the worst bits of Bath are still better than living in London.

#8 porca misèria

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Posted 10 September 2011 - 04:17 PM

Many of the "newer" bath stone properties i.e. 1800-1900 were done to an outline plan with individual builders building individual blocks, this means that they can vary enormously on the same street, no 21 may have terrible sound insulation but no. 22 may be fine.

I lived in two such flats: one in Brock Street, one in Rivers Street. The Brock Street one was the higher quality: at the other one my downstairs neighbour complained that my washing machine shook her flat :o

I didn't find noise within the buildings a problem, but there was some monstrosity calling itself (IIRC) RAOB club that was a b****y noisy neighbour.

In general you want to be north of the river, the south is a bit studenty and suburban.

This probably all sounds a bit negative but overall even the worst bits of Bath are still better than living in London.

Huh? The regency stuff is indeed north, but Oldfield Park has some gorgeous houses! Stayed in a guest house there last time I visited.




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