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Best relocation areas in the UK?

Best relocation areas in the UK?

Old Nov 23rd 2019, 12:07 pm
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Default Re: Best relocation areas in the UK?

Can anyone tell me what is Dorset like?
Both husband & myself born in UK but left when our parents migrated to South Africa. We are now retired in our 70's & feeling very unsettled after having lived in so many countries including 32 years in Australia & past 18 years in New Zealand. Had spells living in Europe but now considering moving back to England & after research considering Dorset.
We just feel we prefer being in a country where we can travel to others close by ie Europe & the commute from Australia & New Zealand is too strenuous at our age.

Would love to hear if others have made the move in their twilight years & their experiences/
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Old Nov 23rd 2019, 3:02 pm
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Default Re: Best relocation areas in the UK?

Originally Posted by Ex Aucklander View Post
Can anyone tell me what is Dorset like?
Both husband & myself born in UK but left when our parents migrated to South Africa. We are now retired in our 70's & feeling very unsettled after having lived in so many countries including 32 years in Australia & past 18 years in New Zealand. Had spells living in Europe but now considering moving back to England & after research considering Dorset.
We just feel we prefer being in a country where we can travel to others close by ie Europe & the commute from Australia & New Zealand is too strenuous at our age.

Would love to hear if others have made the move in their twilight years & their experiences/
Dorset as a whole is an attractive place to retire to, made up of often exceptionally beautiful countryside with good walks and attractive villages coupled with a world heritage standard coastline such as the Jurassic Coast, Lulworth Cove and Chesil Beach.

However, it is not one standard generic in terms of places to live and the Bournemouth/Poole urban area stacks up against Purbeck with rolling countryside but a couple of towns in Wareham (inland ancient) and Swanage (seaside more modern), the Weymouth (ancient but today mixed attractive and economically deprived) and Dorchester (the County Town with a thriving market) towns and the western end with Bridport (quaint enough and an active arts crafts scene) and Lyme Regis (also quaint with literary associations and an attractive harbourside). In the north of the county, Sherborne stands out as highly desirable. In the east, the Wimborne area is the overall most affluent on the county, apart from the exclusive Sandbanks area in Poole.

The coastal climate is fairly mild on a year-round basis but one can experience days on end of stormy weather in that. Being inland by only a few miles is a world of difference in terms of summer and winter temperature.

We lived in Weymouth and within the borough there are a number of areas which stand out as positive residential, such as Preston/Overcombe, parts of Wyke Regis, Sutton Poyntz and parts of Chickerell. It's these areas within the overall that one has to seek out within the county but even then one might have difficulty finding like-minded souls to spend serious time with - a common complaint in Dorset, particularly for those who were expats, so it seems.

Getting to the Continent can be from Bournemouth Airport, mainly if going to Spain and the Algarve (Portugal) but also Easyjet to Geneva plus cruise charters to the Caribbean and varied flights operated by TUI to the Canaries in particular. To France, you can take the ferry from either Poole or Plymouth. For decent overall air service, you need to go to Bristol. Southampton has an airport which is convenient for domestic travel but which also has a couple of overseas routes.

From Weymouth, the best train time to London is 2 3/4 hours. From Bournemouth it is 2 hours. Bridport and Lyme Regis do not have railway stations but there are bus services to get you to Axminster to the west and Dorchester to the east, to get you to mainline rail services.

Last edited by Pistolpete2; Nov 23rd 2019 at 3:06 pm.
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Old Nov 23rd 2019, 8:09 pm
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Default Re: Best relocation areas in the UK?

Thank you for the very informative reply. I have been looking at Rightmove & a couple of other websites to get an idea of property & areas. At first considering houses or bungalows but after realising my gardening days are becoming a problem at my age have recently decided an apartment might be the better option.
Which has obviously limited my choice of areas. However I have noticed several in Branksome Park/ Poole area that seem it could potentially be a pleasant area to live. Main considerations are safe areas, proximity to shops etc. Would be able to drive at this point but in future may require public transport. The travel options from the areas you mentioned are what I had been hoping for as short haul is very easy for us now. Looking forward to being able to explore more of the country I was born in yet know so little about.
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Old Nov 23rd 2019, 8:40 pm
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Default Re: Best relocation areas in the UK?

Originally Posted by Ex Aucklander View Post
Thank you for the very informative reply. I have been looking at Rightmove & a couple of other websites to get an idea of property & areas. At first considering houses or bungalows but after realising my gardening days are becoming a problem at my age have recently decided an apartment might be the better option.
Which has obviously limited my choice of areas. However I have noticed several in Branksome Park/ Poole area that seem it could potentially be a pleasant area to live. Main considerations are safe areas, proximity to shops etc. Would be able to drive at this point but in future may require public transport. The travel options from the areas you mentioned are what I had been hoping for as short haul is very easy for us now. Looking forward to being able to explore more of the country I was born in yet know so little about.
We lived in Weymouth for five years and I never drove a car and didn't really need to as everything that we needed was close at hand. You can always get groceries delivered these days which helps if the shops are not within easy walking distance. In Bournemouth you should end up being able to find a place to live that has all that you need within a shortish walk or bus ride (you get that free bus pass).

I can't really comment on desirable spots in Bournemouth/Poole BUT we did like Old Poole around the Guildhall Tavern and the area just to the north of there a bit towards the Dolphin Shopping Centre.

If you worry about losing those green fingers you can always find an apartment which has some sort of small garden patio area to keep your hand in.
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Old Nov 24th 2019, 1:14 pm
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Default Re: Best relocation areas in the UK?

Originally Posted by Ex Aucklander View Post
Thank you for the very informative reply. I have been looking at Rightmove & a couple of other websites to get an idea of property & areas. At first considering houses or bungalows but after realising my gardening days are becoming a problem at my age have recently decided an apartment might be the better option.
Which has obviously limited my choice of areas. However I have noticed several in Branksome Park/ Poole area that seem it could potentially be a pleasant area to live. Main considerations are safe areas, proximity to shops etc. Would be able to drive at this point but in future may require public transport. The travel options from the areas you mentioned are what I had been hoping for as short haul is very easy for us now. Looking forward to being able to explore more of the country I was born in yet know so little about.
You're probably already well aware of this but just in case, if you buy an apartment do make sure that you're aware of how much the service fee is, and what the policy is on allowable yearly increases. Also, you may well find a semi detached or terraced house with just a small garden or courtyard at the back, which would be much easier to maintain. Pots are always good

Of course, semis and terraced houses usually come with stairs, but stair lifts are so much cheaper in the UK than they are in Oz, same probably goes for NZ. Best of luck with your plans!

If it's something you'd be interested in you could also check out retirement properties, I think most of the UK property search engines allow you to search for these specifically.
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Old Nov 24th 2019, 10:22 pm
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Default Re: Best relocation areas in the UK?

I grew up in Dorset, granted that was 26 years ago, but I still have many friends who live there and they have had no issues regarding safety etc, we are actually moving back there well to start with anyway, see what it's like after being away for so long, but hoping it is some what familiar. Nice and close to the New Forest etc too, which is lovely for walks, picnics and so on, I remember the climate being pretty good too, but as I say it's been a long time, but from researching I can see it still comes up as a decent area. Parts of Bournemouth/Boscombe are a bit dodge, but you get that anywhere you live even where I am currently in Australia.

We are heading there in January, so I shall come back and update once settled
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Old Nov 25th 2019, 9:26 am
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Default Re: Best relocation areas in the UK?

Originally Posted by Britishbitz View Post
I grew up in Dorset, granted that was 26 years ago, but I still have many friends who live there and they have had no issues regarding safety etc, we are actually moving back there well to start with anyway, see what it's like after being away for so long, but hoping it is some what familiar. Nice and close to the New Forest etc too, which is lovely for walks, picnics and so on, I remember the climate being pretty good too, but as I say it's been a long time, but from researching I can see it still comes up as a decent area. Parts of Bournemouth/Boscombe are a bit dodge, but you get that anywhere you live even where I am currently in Australia.

We are heading there in January, so I shall come back and update once settled
I think that you were better leaving the comment that Bournemouth/Boscombe is a bit dodgy than copping out and saying that basically the world is one generic - i.e. crime is everywhere. When Aucklander said that Poole/Branksome Park were a search area that was fine, but Boscombe is known to have a drug problem, as has much of Dorset, as there are a significant number of areas of serious economic deprivation and drug dealers use what us called cuckooing and county lines to prey on those who have fallen on hard times to make them even worse. It's a typical dilemma for many of the English South Coast seaside towns, which have been in overall steady decline.

There are anti-drug action police task forces operating out of Bournemouth but who knows how seriously they actually take this whole 'war on drugs' thing - you know the deal! A 'revolving door' Magistrates Court system doesn't help to keep the police motivated.

It is for the above reason that areas to live in the county have to be carefully selected, as do they in much of the West Country for exactly that same reason.

We were in an area of Weymouth where neighbours would complain that it is as quiet as a morgue. That in actual fact might be ideal.

As was hinted at a few posts earlier, areas which function as gated communities or quasi gated communities with watch programmes have a lot going in favour of them.

Poking around on the Police.uk website looking at postal codes can show one how extraordinarily isolated high-density crime areas can sometimes be. So there is seemingly a way around it.

Last edited by Pistolpete2; Nov 25th 2019 at 9:45 am. Reason: As was hinted at a few posts earlier, areas which function as gated communities or quasi gated communities with watch program
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Old Nov 25th 2019, 9:52 am
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Default Re: Best relocation areas in the UK?

Thanks for pointing out the Service Fees that is something I need to look into.
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Old Nov 25th 2019, 9:54 am
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Default Re: Best relocation areas in the UK?

Originally Posted by Pistolpete2 View Post
I think that you were better leaving the comment that Bournemouth/Boscombe is a bit dodgy than copping out and saying that basically the world is one generic - i.e. crime is everywhere. .
I was simply giving my opinion and yes crime is everywhere. So no not a cop out at all and not sure how you came to that conclusion, but anyway have a good day.
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Old Nov 25th 2019, 10:48 am
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Default Re: Best relocation areas in the UK?

Originally Posted by Ex Aucklander View Post
Thanks for pointing out the Service Fees that is something I need to look into.
Service fees, Ground rents and Retirement Properties have been getting some very bad press of late and this has put off prospective purchasers, particularly in new-build developments.

Developers have been greedy and built ultra-high ground rents with escalation clauses into lease agreements, so much so that they can severely damage the ability of the property owner (tenant on the lease) to sustain ongoing annual costs and it severely curtails the ability to sell a property on. Service fees, particularly on retirement properties, can be inordinately high, particularly where there is a lift and a near full-time warden present and there are extensive common areas to be maintained.

With retirement properties there is a further issue of age restriction and standard mortgage lenders do not participate in lending where there are significant restrictions as it undermines value. This will further damage value.

In our area of Weymouth, there was an endless 'procession' of leasehold apartments for sale where the typical reason for attempted disposal was due to high and therefore unsustainable service fees for those on fixed income.

IMHO, the best way to approach apartments is either to seek out one where there is a SHARE of freehold* on offer AND a demonstrated properly functioning management company (owned by the share of freeholders), or less favourably, there is simply a properly functioning internal management committee having some sort of oversight over ongoing costs and ongoing maintenance.

Note that just because service costs are low, doesn't mean everything is hunky dory. You can well have a situation where an intended seller asked the other share of freeholders to agree to a temporary CUT in service charges to make them look attractive to a prospective buyer when in actual fact they therefore covered next to nothing of the necessary on going costs to maintain an overall property in good order. It ain't easy!

Oh and it goes without saying that you NEVER ever go for a leasehold property which has an outstanding lease of less than say 90 years but then you should really be going for those shares of freeholds anyway. Note that estate agents are notoriously bad in detailing what the correct tenure is (freehold, leasehold, share of freehold) on rightmove.

I'm sure that there will be others on here who can vouch for the fact that buying off-plan can be a nightmare worthy of a horror non-fiction publication. As a participant in a development which was a perfect storm of developer dishonesty and fraud, legal incompetence and ineffectiveness, investor neglect, builder incompetence, architect dishonesty and freeholder greed bordering? illegality, I can say DON'T GO NEAR NEW-BUILD apartments BOUGHT OFF-PLAN.

*Share of freehold is not ideal where certain owners in a development did not choose to be participants in the purchase of the share because there is a duty of care to that minority and certain statutory requirements regarding giving notice for major works and getting competitive bids, and this can be a pain

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Old Nov 26th 2019, 8:02 am
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Default Re: Best relocation areas in the UK?

Thanks again, I will take this advice on board. Still have to sell up but hope to arrive in UK next May.
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Old Nov 26th 2019, 9:22 am
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Default Re: Best relocation areas in the UK?

Originally Posted by Ex Aucklander View Post
Thanks again, I will take this advice on board. Still have to sell up but hope to arrive in UK next May.
What I say here might lend itself to the Bournemouth/Poole/Christchurch area as much as it did to Weymouth where we settled. They are both hospitality areas to a certain degree.

We arrived in Weymouth in mid-September and started out doing a winter let for six months - renting with a proper lease a fully-loaded property (incl TV licence, cutlery, you name it) (used for Summer Holiday Let) at a reduced rent. We then moved into a holiday let in a superb location for several months on a negotiated lower rent. We then went to another property in the locale for a few weeks, then checked out of the area and the UK for a few months before returning to do another winter let. Then we took a long let. We used a self storage facility for some of the time to ease the effort (there are such facilities in Weymouth and also close in to Gatwick Airport (Maidenbower), for example).

After all of this, done with the same overall estate agent throughout for the UK bit, which saved on fees, expectation of extensive up-front rent due and referencing effort (due the good working relationship then built) (note that estate agents should by law no longer charge fees to the tenant) we had a very good idea of the areas in Weymouth that we thought suited us for long term letting and/or ultimate property purchase when living without a car, because there was a time when we seriously thought that we might buy there because on balance, we thought it was a good as we could 'get' when in the UK.

Note that we did not bring our worldly goods to the UK, just about eleven suitcases worth, and always rented fully-furnished.

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Old Nov 26th 2019, 10:23 am
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Default Re: Best relocation areas in the UK?

We did the same when we lived in Spain, Cyprus & Tenerife all 12 months rentals fully furnished. However after the joy of living in our present home for 16 years I realize I prefer to own my own place, that way I can furnish how I want & also make it to the level of comfort.At our age we just want a permanent lock up & leave for when we want to take trips away.
I am sure we will have to rent for awhile till we find a property to buy, although hubby wants me to go ahead research & buy so he just has to move in. We did this when we moved to New Zealand, fortunately I bought good location, so it proved a good investment. Hope I can do that again.
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