Why is Cheltenham so expensive?
The question of ‘Why is Cheltenham so expensive?’ is a valid question to ask and most people ask this question. Some people also ask ‘Why is Cheltenham posh?’
There are many factors responsible for this. Some of the factors are Regency-era factor, festival factor, affluent factor, good school factor and Cotswold Factor.
In this article, I want to look at each one of these factors. Stay with me and I will go into details of each of these factors.
Let’s have a little bit of background before going further to each of the factors responsible for the reason why Cheltenham is so expensive.
I live about 8 miles to the historic town of Cheltenham.
I have been living in this area since December of 2016 when we moved from the incredible Great Malvern town in Worcestershire that is known for the picturesque Malvern Hills.
It is obvious that it is expensive to live in Cheltenham.
When we talk about Cheltenham being expensive, I like to focus on houses because an expensive town or city always starts from the price of houses.
Housing cost is usually the bulk of anyone’s monthly expenses especially if you do not own your house outright.
As at the time of writing this article according to Zoopla, the average House prices in Cheltenham stand at £366,948. UK average stands at £316,131.
It is not a surprise to me that House price in Cheltenham is £50,817 more than the UK average. Gloucester House prices in Gloucester stand at £245,297.
You can see you are likely to pay up to £100,000 more for the house if you decided to live in Cheltenham instead of Gloucester.
In the real sense, Cheltenham and Gloucester are just about 8 miles apart.
It is obvious that Cheltenham houses are more pricy than those in Gloucester.
REGENCY ERA AND SPA
The regency era was the period in British history when there were a lot of achievements in art and music, literature, science and architecture.
The effect of the Regency era can still be felt in Cheltenham today and this is a big factor in the reason why it is expensive to live in Cheltenham.
If you look around Cheltenham you will see that it is the difference from a lot of towns and cities in the UK in terms of the character and the feel of the town.
I have been to Bath, which is another Regency spa city.
The fact remains that Cheltenham is the ‘most complete regency town in Britain’. The regency architecture is very obvious to see in Cheltenham.
The facades and ironwork balconies are all examples of the regency architecture.
Those rows of terraces are pricey because of their history and character.
If you have expensive houses in an area, you can bet that the houses close to it will also be expensive.
Even if new homes will be constructed, the price of the houses nearby will affect the price of the new ones.
This is why I am not surprised that the new homes been build in Prestbury, Leckampton and other areas of Cheltenham are also expensive.
As well, Cheltenham has a history of being a spa town.
The discovery of the mineral spring in 1716 made Cheltenham popular. People used to come as far as London to come and relax in Cheltenham.
The visit of King George III with royal princes and princess established the reputation of Cheltenham as a Spa town for relaxation and recreation.
Cheltenham is still a great spa town.
The DoubleTree hotel is one of the best spa hotels in the area.
So, the effect of the Regency era and spa still have an impact on the lure of living in Cheltenham. This means house prices will be high because of the law of supply and demand.
When people talk about Cheltenham, the first thing people talk about is the Cheltenham Races.
The Cheltenham Horse Race Festival is actually not the only festival that usually takes place annually.
There are other festivals like the Jazz Festival, Science Festival and The Literature Festival.
There is no doubt the Cheltenham Race Festival is the most popular of all the festivals. However, it depends on your interest because the other festivals also do pull the crowd.
When you have all these festivals that people come from near and far to attend, there is no way it will not have an effect on the price of houses and cost of living.
The Cheltenham Festival at the Cheltenham Racecourse takes place annually in March.
The Gold cup is usually the climax of the races in Cheltenham. The attendance in March on Gold Cup came to 71,816, a new record for the last day of The Festival, as against 70,684 in 2018.
GOOD SCHOOLS AND GRAMMAR SCHOOL
One of the things Cheltenham is known for is good schools. Every parent wants their children to go to good schools where they can be trained to become a responsible adult that will make a meaningful contribution to society.
Cheltenham is full of these outstanding schools. The notable one is Pate’s Grammar School that is not just one of the top schools in Cheltenham but one of the best schools in England.
Pate’s OFSTED rating is not outstanding but ‘Beyond Outstanding’ which not a lot of school in England have that rating.
It worth mention that Pate’s Grammar School is a selective school.
Children need to pass an exam and meet selection criteria to be able to gain admission to Pate’s.
Its not just Pate’s, there is also Balcarras School that is also a highly rated school in the area.
A lot of the primary schools are also very good school where children are thought in a very good environment.
As families moving to Cheltenham to get their children to these good schools this will put the price of properties up because of high demand.
COTSWOLD FACTOR AND GREEN BELT
Cotswold area is one of the affluent areas in the UK. It boasts as one of the areas in the UK that are rated highly as a good place to live. Cheltenham pride herself as the centre of the Cotswolds.
The Cotswold traditional consists of a lot of villages that are traditional British villages.
These villages have not had a lot of changes to them for many years because of planning law that discourages newly built homes in those areas.
As well, Cotswold villages are mainly within the Cotswold Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. (AONB).
Basically AONB is a preserved area because of their landscape and wildlife quality.
It means it will take you to jump a lot of hoops to get approval to build a new house. Another thing to consider is the Green Belt.
This one relates to the British Planning Law.
The main aim of the green belt in the UK is to control urban growth.
Local Authority Planning Departments usually resist developments within the green belt to protect the countryside.
Government use green belt policy to preserve agriculture lands, forestry and outdoor leisure areas.
Literarily Cheltenham is surrounded by Green Belt and Cotswold AONB which makes it difficult to find land to build new homes for the ever-growing population.
The Cotswold AONB and the green belt are a big factor in the prices of houses in Cheltenham.
As well, Cheltenham is close to the traditional Cotswolds villages that are very expensive to live in, this also affects the prices of houses in Cheltenham.
Cheltenham is known for being an affluent town.
To be honest there is a feeling of opulence in Cheltenham when you consider the fact that there are a lot of shops that you will not normally find in every town.
There is the new John Lewis that just opened on the High Street.
John Lewis is usually a symbol of status.
Perhaps not everyone will agree with this assumption.
The fact remains that you can see Argos or Primark in every town and city but you will not usually see John Lewis in every town or city.
You won’t find auto dealer showroom where you can buy Ferrari and other specialist supercars in every town and city.
There are autodialers selling supercars in Cheltenham.
For me, I think these are signs of affluent town. Of course, you can argue that people will be travelling from all over the Cotswold area to shop in Cheltenham.
This is because of Cheltenham more or less the centre of Cotswold. Actually I first heard about Cheltenham when I was living in Worcester years ago.
First, somebody told me he was going to Cheltenham for shopping from Worcester and another friend made me aware of the Cheltenham Festival.
My first visit to Cheltenham was to see the Races in March of 2008.
The point is making is that people travelling to Cheltenham for various leisure purposes are surely contributing to the economy and prosperity of Cheltenham.
If Cheltenham is an affluent town, you can expect house price to be high and always on the rise.
It is worth mentioning that you won’t find a lot of well-paid jobs in Cheltenham. I know people that travel to London to work from Cheltenham.
If they get the same time of job with close enough salary in the Cheltenham area, I am sure they will make the switch.
Part of the issues with high housing prices in Cheltenham area might be people coming from more expensive areas.
An example will be people that sell their house in London and move to Cheltenham.
Surely people like that will price local people out of the market.