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7clubs

Alton, Hants

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We've switched our search to Alton, a place I know well from my younger days. Consequently, does anyone have any first-hand knowledge of the property market in the town over the last several years (I've been away....).

Thanks for any input.

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Second hand from someone right next to me. Quiet place, a squeeze for a seat on the early morning trains

We've switched our search to Alton, a place I know well from my younger days. Consequently, does anyone have any first-hand knowledge of the property market in the town over the last several years (I've been away....).

Thanks for any input.

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Thanks, both. Although the town is undoubtedly rougher on a Saturday night than it was for under-age drinkers 25 years ago, where isn't? Sorry to hear about the car, though. Mind you, my mother had her car vandalised in Odiham, youngest resident approximately 72.....

Interesting about the squeeze on the morning train - this is only of occasional relevance to Mrs 7Clubs. As the end of the line, I'd have thought seats wouldn't be a problem, so thanks for the information.

Prices do seem to be sticky, though. I am dealing with a very good agent, who reckoned that prices "got a bit crazy in 2007, then fell back but have now increased to about 5% off peak." When I pointed out that, by his own reckoning, 5% off crazy was still pretty crazy, he did go rather quiet.....Zoopla graphs, for what they are worth, do back up what he said though.

I do think that, if we can go in at 20% off peak (and have an offer accepted at this level) we will jump, for reasons I have stated on the main board.

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Thanks, both. Although the town is undoubtedly rougher on a Saturday night than it was for under-age drinkers 25 years ago, where isn't? Sorry to hear about the car, though. Mind you, my mother had her car vandalised in Odiham, youngest resident approximately 72.....

Interesting about the squeeze on the morning train - this is only of occasional relevance to Mrs 7Clubs. As the end of the line, I'd have thought seats wouldn't be a problem, so thanks for the information.

Prices do seem to be sticky, though. I am dealing with a very good agent, who reckoned that prices "got a bit crazy in 2007, then fell back but have now increased to about 5% off peak." When I pointed out that, by his own reckoning, 5% off crazy was still pretty crazy, he did go rather quiet.....Zoopla graphs, for what they are worth, do back up what he said though.

I do think that, if we can go in at 20% off peak (and have an offer accepted at this level) we will jump, for reasons I have stated on the main board.

Trains are fine in the early morning. Seats still available until Woking. It's a good quality, if only 1/2 hourly service.

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i once loved a girl from there.

Her parents had a beautiful house.

Dont suppose that helps though does it .:P

Did you find out that it was only worth £400k at peak and then dump her?

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http://www.express.co.uk/life-style/property/868008/house-prices-news-zoopla-property-crash

House prices: Zoopla research shows property crash crisis as THIS area tumbles £120 a day

http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/mortgageshome/article-4992860/London-West-Midland-lead-summer-house-price-falls.html

Alton in Hampshire was identified as having the weakest house price growth in Britain in the third quarter, with properties there decreasing in value by £10,900 on average (a 2.17 per cent decline)

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1 hour ago, hp72 said:

http://www.express.co.uk/life-style/property/868008/house-prices-news-zoopla-property-crash

House prices: Zoopla research shows property crash crisis as THIS area tumbles £120 a day

http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/mortgageshome/article-4992860/London-West-Midland-lead-summer-house-price-falls.html

Alton in Hampshire was identified as having the weakest house price growth in Britain in the third quarter, with properties there decreasing in value by £10,900 on average (a 2.17 per cent decline)

its a commuter town of last resort - just too far from waterloo for a 5 day a week commute.

The last resort commuter towns will go first - then the medium (Guildford) then the prime (Walton-on-Thames, Surbiton) 

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11 hours ago, Does Commute Abit said:

its a commuter town of last resort - just too far from waterloo for a 5 day a week commute.

The last resort commuter towns will go first - then the medium (Guildford) then the prime (Walton-on-Thames, Surbiton) 

Makes sense, but aren't the prices just too far apart? A bog standard semi in Surbiton in need of modernisation seems to be £1m+ now.

https://www.seymours-estates.co.uk/properties/10613455/sales

You can get something much better for less money in Alton, e.g.:

http://www.rightmove.co.uk/property-for-sale/property-50951604.html

http://www.rightmove.co.uk/property-for-sale/property-49114017.html

 

It wouldn't suit everyone, but a family with one commuter might be prepared to do a one hour commute presumably with a seat instead of a 20 minute one where you can't always physically get on the first train any more for a better lifestyle.

For those without the luxury of £1m to spend, it might be the only way to get a family home. £400k still seems to buy a reasonable family home down there, compared to a not-very-good flat in Surbiton.

It does seem that the gap between these sort of places only ever seems to widen - look how expensive places like Wimbledon and Richmond are compared to Surbiton, but I always wonder if there is a time where the gaps come more back into line with what they used to be.

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We lived in a village about 10 minutes east of here until we were priced out by people demanding £800,000 - £1,200,000 for a 4 bedroom detached house. In the 10 years we were there, in the last few years, many families from London relocated down there with the wives loving the space and gardens but the husbands demonstrably tired and disgruntled from the 1.5 - 2 hour each way train commute door to door.

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Yes, Alton has all the hallmarks of true blue territory........affluent, rural, nice environment, high house ownership, a bit armed forces orientated (church crookham etc.).  It is very nice, both the town and the local countryside, its just only really commutable to London if:

1) you can get a day or two at home reach week

2) you can do things on the train as part of your job - I need to write and concentrate fully in my work, so tend to sleep not work

3) childcare - nursery drop, daycare etc. - is fully done by the non- London commuter partner

4) need no add-ons once off the train - your office is near to Waterloo, same with home being near to Alton station  

5) understanding boss for days it all goes wrong (red screen information screen welcomes at Waterloo)

 

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1 hour ago, worried1 said:

...

It wouldn't suit everyone, but a family with one commuter might be prepared to do a one hour commute presumably with a seat instead of a 20 minute one where you can't always physically get on the first train any more for a better lifestyle.

For those without the luxury of £1m to spend, it might be the only way to get a family home. £400k still seems to buy a reasonable family home down there, compared to a not-very-good flat in Surbiton.

.....

Hi worried1, there are good commuter spots on that Alton line where you can get a seat and with possible 1 hr door-to-door.  I have one, or rather did have one, until I changed job to another part of London and am back at 1hr20 each way (reduces to 1hr 15 if I cycle a bit one way).

An hour each way with a seat is fine.  I have lived a 5 min walk from work twice and that wasn't good either - not able to switch off, not getting a change of scene at weekends.   There might be an argument that a 20-30 min journey to work is optimal for these reasons.

Alton line is far better if you can shift your working hours a little too.  Even a 9.30 start will get you a far higher chance of a seat than a 9.00 London start.  Its also easier getting home if you arrive at Waterloo after 6.30pm - again just a little later than the 9-5 ers.

 

Edited by Does Commute Abit

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30 minutes ago, Does Commute Abit said:

Yes, Alton has all the hallmarks of true blue territory........affluent, rural, nice environment, high house ownership, a bit armed forces orientated (church crookham etc.).  It is very nice, both the town and the local countryside, its just only really commutable to London if:

1) you can get a day or two at home reach week

2) you can do things on the train as part of your job - I need to write and concentrate fully in my work, so tend to sleep not work

3) childcare - nursery drop, daycare etc. - is fully done by the non- London commuter partner

4) need no add-ons once off the train - your office is near to Waterloo, same with home being near to Alton station  

5) understanding boss for days it all goes wrong (red screen information screen welcomes at Waterloo)

 

The "working from home 1-2 days a week" is a good thing from the perspective of stress and tiredness but financially does not really help as any season ticket (whether annual, monthly or weekly) has a tipping point at about three and a half days commute. It would be great if there was an option to buy a book of tickets at season ticket rates that have to be used within a certain time but the rail companies are not implementing this in the south east but in some eastern counties

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55 minutes ago, hp72 said:

The "working from home 1-2 days a week" is a good thing from the perspective of stress and tiredness but financially does not really help as any season ticket (whether annual, monthly or weekly) has a tipping point at about three and a half days commute. It would be great if there was an option to buy a book of tickets at season ticket rates that have to be used within a certain time but the rail companies are not implementing this in the south east but in some eastern counties

Yes, very true.  Southwestern Railways did promise "more flexible" season tickets as part of their franchise, but I wouldn't hold your breath.

They even took away the 6 free off-peak day traveller tickets for a gold card - which was again something that helped swing the decision to buy a season ticket if you didn't use it every weekday. These were useful for weekend family daytrips - things like Alton or (for better value) places like Exeter or Weymouth. Not sure Southwestern know what they are doing with that decision - I would just drive to such places instead in  future (so they make no money, they dont replace my involvement with new income),  the trains are under capacity at the weekend anyway,  and its created less good will towards them if a major transport problem arises in the future for which they can be blamed.

 

Edited by Does Commute Abit

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2 hours ago, Does Commute Abit said:

Hi worried1, there are good commuter spots on that Alton line where you can get a seat and with possible 1 hr door-to-door.  I have one, or rather did have one, until I changed job to another part of London and am back at 1hr20 each way (reduces to 1hr 15 if I cycle a bit one way).

An hour each way with a seat is fine.  I have lived a 5 min walk from work twice and that wasn't good either - not able to switch off, not getting a change of scene at weekends.   There might be an argument that a 20-30 min journey to work is optimal for these reasons.

Alton line is far better if you can shift your working hours a little too.  Even a 9.30 start will get you a far higher chance of a seat than a 9.00 London start.  Its also easier getting home if you arrive at Waterloo after 6.30pm - again just a little later than the 9-5 ers.

 

 

 

I fully agree with your point about not working locally. I am only in Surbiton, but I really value getting out of London 'proper' every evening and the options it offers on the weekends. I couldn't afford to live anywhere reasonably nice closer in anyway, so it is not really a choice I have to make!

I think the concern is how many more people they think that they can get on trains that are starting to get near breaking point as it is.

I have been commuting from Surbiton for years and it has obviously always got progressively busier but the rate of change has increased alarmingly in the past two years, There are definitely more people waiting for each rush hour train at Surbiton and the trains themselves are much busier when they come in. This had led to a situation where you occasionally cannot even squeeze on to the first train when it comes in if you are not exactly lined up with the door.

This has always been the case if one or more trains are cancelled, but this is now happening on days when they are offering a 'good service'. 

The same thing happened in Earlsfield a few years ago and Raynes Park after that. Now it is as far out as Surbiton, and I guess eventually it will go out as far as Alton. That is certainly not fun with trains running at a far lower frequency and a much longer journey time...

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worried1 -  I am further out so never on the red SWT trains, always the blue or red.  Surbiton is a blur in the mornings as my train shoots past but I can see what those red trains are like now and its a fair distance still to stand, especially as trains tend to queue into Waterloo making most a few minutes late.  I can always get a seat on my train - its the first train after the 8am nursery drop, but I start 9.30 (only just making it, always late if any issues).  But my job is not one where I need to keep strict hours  and am happy to work later to make up.  I get trains back after 6.30, or usually 7pm, that avoid Surbiton stops as they are far less busy.  A Surbiton stopper on this line is always far busier than one that doesn't stop.

That said, when I do encounter them, Surbiton commuters are OK from what I see in terms of manners.  In my opinion,  the worst by far are the Guildford bunch who are quite happy to use elbows and pushing to get a preciously seat. It think its the Guildford traffic and parking that creates this particular dog-eat-dog.  Most commuter type  homes are  a drive from the station (I think you did a good analysis of Guildford on a map once) so its fight through the Guildford traffic, fight for a railway parking space, inevitably then fight for a seat when on the train ....

It has become harder for me the last year to get a seat now - only the middle ones on the 3 seater sections in the morning.   I'm one stop further out from Woking on the line being discussed in this thread.   If I'm unlucky, I stand initially to Woking but can usually get a seat as people get off there.  I've got good at guessing who is going to get off at Woking and positioning myself for their seat!!!!   

This is because the line is busier now (even at my stop) but also because new housing has been developed locally and the train station now has a double decker car park- as many now do in the outer commuter belt.  My train station car park used to regularly be full from 8pm onwards.

 

 

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2 hours ago, Does Commute Abit said:

worried1 -  I am further out so never on the red SWT trains, always the blue or red.  Surbiton is a blur in the mornings as my train shoots past but I can see what those red trains are like now and its a fair distance still to stand, especially as trains tend to queue into Waterloo making most a few minutes late.  I can always get a seat on my train - its the first train after the 8am nursery drop, but I start 9.30 (only just making it, always late if any issues).  But my job is not one where I need to keep strict hours  and am happy to work later to make up.  I get trains back after 6.30, or usually 7pm, that avoid Surbiton stops as they are far less busy.  A Surbiton stopper on this line is always far busier than one that doesn't stop.

That said, when I do encounter them, Surbiton commuters are OK from what I see in terms of manners.  In my opinion,  the worst by far are the Guildford bunch who are quite happy to use elbows and pushing to get a preciously seat. It think its the Guildford traffic and parking that creates this particular dog-eat-dog.  Most commuter type  homes are  a drive from the station (I think you did a good analysis of Guildford on a map once) so its fight through the Guildford traffic, fight for a railway parking space, inevitably then fight for a seat when on the train ....

It has become harder for me the last year to get a seat now - only the middle ones on the 3 seater sections in the morning.   I'm one stop further out from Woking on the line being discussed in this thread.   If I'm unlucky, I stand initially to Woking but can usually get a seat as people get off there.  I've got good at guessing who is going to get off at Woking and positioning myself for their seat!!!!   

This is because the line is busier now (even at my stop) but also because new housing has been developed locally and the train station now has a double decker car park- as many now do in the outer commuter belt.  My train station car park used to regularly be full from 8pm onwards.

 

 

Always interesting to hear about commuting strategies - it is a shame we need them though!

Surbiton is actually going the other way from stations further out in that the car park is only on one level and is actually under-used. I guess most people walk to the station now or take a short bus ride. There used to be quite a few people who would drive to Surbiton from places like Esher to avoid higher fares. I never saw the point in that myself and I think that higher traffic levels have put paid to that practice anyway. How long before people start driving further down the line in order to be able to squeeze onto a train?!

The developers have actually got their eye on the car park to build more flats there, which I wouldn't mind apart from the fact that for every flat that goes up, I see yet another two commuters fighting to get on the train each day! I was annoyed to find that Surbiton has been earmarked for further development because housing there doesn't have the 'required density' for such a large transport hub!

The developers and the councils seem to be seizing on the fact that there is a housing shortage to gain permission to build more homes but without putting in any of the infrastructure required to support them and in this part of Hampshire/Surrey/London that impact will be felt more acutely on the trains than anywhere else.

The Surbiton commuters don't seem a bad lot really, but not having to get a train that stops there would be nice. If I am getting a train from Waterloo at an unfamiliar time, I don't even bother watching the board for the platform to be announced. I just wait until 50% of all of the people on the concourse start moving towards a platform and I know that's my train!

Edited by worried1

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Busier trains radiating further out of London is a function of increased house prices the closer to the centre of London you get, combined with an increase in population. I'm certainly experiencing more cars which seem to be under serviced that result in more breakdowns and accidents (although I have no doubt that mobile phone distraction and 'alterntive driving styles' employed by some non-natives also play a part in accidents as well)

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1 hour ago, hp72 said:

Busier trains radiating further out of London is a function of increased house prices the closer to the centre of London you get, combined with an increase in population. 

Indeed, but the differential in prices is still much lower than it used to be. I am not sure about Alton, but if you go back to the 1980s/90s, the prime commuter spots on this line like Guildford and Esher would have been more expensive (£ per sqft) than lots of parts of of south London like Brixton and nowhere near as far off prime London like Chelsea as they are now.

Whether that means the prices further out have got more to grow to get back in line with London or not is a matter for debate. Hopefully, it doesnt!

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On 19/10/2017 at 3:45 PM, worried1 said:

How long before people start driving further down the line in order to be able to squeeze onto a train?!

Good point - its already done by outer Woking suburbians, who head out to Brookwood/Worplesdon to guarantee a seat rather than travel in slightly less distance to central Woking - where its normally standing room only at peak.  A seat is essential for a long commute (say over 20 min) in my opinion.  You can work or rest when seated - either way, not burn through your energy - successful commuting is all about best energy (and time) utilisation.

The point about differentials between stations being huge is a good one that got missed in discussions -  I think is due to BTL inflating greater London.  There is some BTL in my outer commuter belt location, but the housing stock is exactly that "housing" - 3/4 bed houses, either terraced/semi/detached.   A BTLer typically wants a 2 bed (often flat) to get reliable and sustainable income from young professionals (pay on time, replaceable), and there are less of these in the housing stock out of London.  In London, you can let out by the room, easy.  But further down the Alton line and away from London,  people have higher expectations of acceptable living environments or have indeed have moved for those expectations: a front door, exclusive parking, a decent private garden, a family bathroom, no shared facilities etc. Perhaps, people further out are also more settled and coupled or family orientated, again its why they live/moved there.  There is little demand for a room in a shared house where I live.  Thus, BTL is by renting out houses.....

...and renting out whole houses is a different ball game, particularly those with gardens, garages, etc.  Where I live, rented out houses are normally back up for rent inside a year as the occupant has bought elsewhere.  Why not when the mortgage payment is less and  the natural temptation with such a whole house is to refine it to your tastes/requirements, which also involves buying.  My conclusion is that BTL is less profitable and more haste  in the outer commuter belt.   So BTL doesnt inflate the price as you move out of London to more housing type accommodation as the norm.

Edited by Does Commute Abit

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On 10/20/2017 at 11:38 PM, Does Commute Abit said:

My conclusion is that BTL is less profitable and more haste  in the outer commuter belt.   So BTL doesnt inflate the price as you move out of London to more housing type accommodation as the norm.

I agree, but again this might be something that changes if the population keeps increasing and prices keep going up.

In Woking itself, there a lot of flats around the station that just weren't there fifteen years ago - you'd get straight into detached/semi-detached suburbia almost as soon as leaving Woking station on the 'non-town' side, but now there are hundreds of flats. 

I visited Sevenoaks in Kent last month, and there are several office blocks by the station that have become residential flats and plans for at least two more large developments of flats on previously commercial land. The prices being asked seem to suggest they are marketed at BTL because most local FTBs would struggle. Again, this is prime commuter belt where sizable houses dominate the stock even very close to the station.

This is effectively the same thing that happened in places like Surbiton fifty or so years ago. The centre would have been pretty much 100% houses back then but then they swiftly started being converted into flats or knocked down to be replaced by flats. I'd estimate it is probably 90% flats within five minutes walk of the station now and still at least 75% within ten minutes.

It takes a long time to get to that level of course, but with the current population/price problems we have and many pressure groups wanting to build housing now and think about infrastructure later, it might no be as long as fifty years.

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8 hours ago, worried1 said:

I agree, but again this might be something that changes if the population keeps increasing and prices keep going up.

In Woking itself, there a lot of flats around the station that just weren't there fifteen years ago - you'd get straight into detached/semi-detached suburbia almost as soon as leaving Woking station on the 'non-town' side, but now there are hundreds of flats. 

I visited Sevenoaks in Kent last month, and there are several office blocks by the station that have become residential flats and plans for at least two more large developments of flats on previously commercial land. The prices being asked seem to suggest they are marketed at BTL because most local FTBs would struggle. Again, this is prime commuter belt where sizable houses dominate the stock even very close to the station.

This is effectively the same thing that happened in places like Surbiton fifty or so years ago. The centre would have been pretty much 100% houses back then but then they swiftly started being converted into flats or knocked down to be replaced by flats. I'd estimate it is probably 90% flats within five minutes walk of the station now and still at least 75% within ten minutes.

It takes a long time to get to that level of course, but with the current population/price problems we have and many pressure groups wanting to build housing now and think about infrastructure later, it might no be as long as fifty years.

Don't fall for these huge blocks of flats near to railway stations (also Walton on Thames, Aldershot and others).  If you are getting out of London,  and paying in time and energy for it, it needs to be for a house ideally with garden and, most importantly, its freehold.  I pay £0 a year ground rent and £0 a year service charge (not true in reality, as a mortgage holder I have to maintain the house myself, but there's no creaming off of a profit).  Commuting offers a better chance to be freehold and a lot of new leasehold is a con with doubling ground rents every 7 or 10 years (it should be every 30) and RPI+ rises in service charge. 

Woking area countryside is great.  The town is OK and certainly on the up.  That's why Guildford is the favourite despite offering less niceness for your money and a worse commute - Guildford is a thriving county town, not a slightly dull commuter town.  Woking is not about fancy eateries and boutique shopping to mimic London - Woking living is about embracing the countryside with walks and bike rides and losing the need for an urban buzz.  

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14 hours ago, Does Commute Abit said:

Don't fall for these huge blocks of flats near to railway stations (also Walton on Thames, Aldershot and others).  If you are getting out of London,  and paying in time and energy for it, it needs to be for a house ideally with garden and, most importantly, its freehold. 

That's what I find so difficult about the current situation. As you say, the move out to those places (especially as far out as Aldershot) should mean more space and a freehold. 

The fact that these flats are now out there, in such volume, with all of the ridiculous associated Help to Buy and part ownership schemes is worrying. People in their 20's will grow up thinking that living in a flat is the norm everywhere, not just a compromise that you make if you fancy living in a central London zone for a few years.

That represents a big cut in the standard of living for most people, and a big increase in profit for property developers. It must be very nice to find out that you can build a block of 50 flats and sell them for £400k each, on a site that might have been suitable for five £800k houses a few years go.

 

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We looked at the flats by Woking station. At the time I was pretty wheelchair reliant and a flat was ideal for me. Bungalows were out of my price range.

They were marketed to the BTL owners with "guaranteed" income for x number of years. The interiors were terrible though. They weren't suitable for a wheelchair. I remember one of the more expensive flats has irregular shaped bedrooms and only small furniture could fit into it.

I don't know if they are still BTL occupied or of OO's eventually bought them. Are the tenants and any OO's trapped there I wonder and unable to afford anything else?

 

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  • 338 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
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      • up 5%



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