And the winner is… Hitchin

Note: This entry has been restored from old archives.

After saying we’re going to stick with Letchworth we’ve gone and put a deposit down on a place in Hitchin. I saw it today and put our claim in for it right away. Given our past experience with losing out on places if we delay at all and the ever-nearer final day of our current tenancy it seemed most prudent.

The place is a lot better than the place we chose to take in Letchworth but missed out on. It’s also half the distance to the station (5 min walk), twice the size, and in better condition (just.) It’s also only 50 quid more per month, so that works out OK.

The size of the place is the headline feature, it is really rather huge. Three large double-size bedrooms, a kitchen I can swing a cat in (just), and three “receptions,” also large. I don’t quite know what this English “reception” concept encompasses, based on what we’ve seen in our hunting it is any room that isn’t a bedroom. The place is two story and each story has about the same floorspace as our apartment.

The rent is pretty good for the area and the size, it’s also 150 less per month than we’ve been paying. Though we don’t save anything, the extra cost of the train travel demolishes that difference. The annual Hitchin to London ticket price is £2880, and that doesn’t include tube travel! To add tube travel the price goes to £3840! (Try not to think of those numbers in Australian $… oops, too late, ouch!) That’s 74 quid per week, and that’s with the 30% discount you can only get if you buy an annual ticket. (You’d be crazy not to, even if you didn’t have the cash handy the pain on a personal loan over a year doesn’t nullify the 30% saving. But better yet, get a 12-month 0% CC deal and let your 3840 sit in a high interest savings account earning you a bit before flushing it into the CC. Just don’t forget to settle the CC before the 12 months is up!)

Anyway, in other crazy rent news, the landlord of our current place seems to have given up on selling it (buying demand is really low right now) and put it back on the rental market. Rental demand is very high at the moment and the place has been listed £200 higher than we’ve been paying! That’s about 3x inflation, but is actually about right for what we’ve seen in the area. Our original preference was to stay in the Ricky area, but moving into a house around here would cost a lot, at least £400 more than we’re paying now. That’s our primary motivation for dragging our butts somewhere else, thus Hitchin. We end up paying less rent for a huge place (the same sort of place here would be about £600 more than we’re paying now – approaching twice our Hitchin rent!)

Anyway, more on this another time. It’s one hell of a relief to have found a place, stress level can be downgraded to amber. Right after we’ve finished filling in the agent’s 5 pages of paperwork (and we’re not even close to a tenancy agreement yet, the bloody British and their love of forms. Must find my Brazil soundtrack and put on Harry Tuttle — “A Man Consumed by Paperwork”.)

4 thoughts on “And the winner is… Hitchin”

  1. HELLO says MUM, so glad you’ve found somewhere to move hope all goes well. I can’t believe the public transport costs-HUGE! Why is it so?

  2. You’re up late! I have no idea why the public transport is so expensive here. It’s all pretty much privatised though and I don’t know how much government subsidiy there is.

    The yearly ticket from Rickmansworth to “The City” is about 1800 quid (34 quid per week, while the weekly ticket is 48 quid – so again, a big saving for those who can buy an annual ticket!) So the travel from Hitchin is going to be twice as much. What’s crazy is that if we both commuted to London the travel would begin to compete with the rent!

    This is just London for you though, Londoners are used to paying extreme amounts for their transport. Paying extreme amounts for pretty much everything else … and the pound isn’t quite as strong as it used to be so we expect to see things go up some more.

  3. UP LATE WORKING ON A NEW MENU! NEED TO GO TO BED NOW! However I always get caught up. Lucky its school hols so I don’t have to be up early.If you both commuted wouldn’t it be expedient to get a car? Although I suppose there would be nowhere to park.

  4. Driving into London from Hitchin would be near impossible. It’d take two hours, and that’s assuming the traffic is OK. It wouldn’t be OK, so the trip would probably be 3hrs plus. Then parking would come into play, and the “nowhere to park” comes into play. All in all: impossible 🙂 The train trip will take just a little over an hour door-to-door.

    If we both commuted into London it’d start to look financially sensible to move into London. But something like what we’re moving into would cost at least 3x more in London, so we’d certainly have to go much smaller. Then we’d still have to pay nearly 1000 quid a year for tube tickets anyway.

    It’s a lifestyle choice. Small apartment in London, or large house outside London? With the former I can’t have a BBQ or any outdoor space, let alone breathable air!

    We’re trying to work out what to do with the rooms in the new place, ideas so far:

    1. Bedroom
    2. Office/computers
    3. Gym
    4. Reading room
    5. Dining room
    6. Sitting room (I’m running out of ideas now)

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