Property: Stepping Stones; One Couple's Property Story

MARJORIE RAYMOND'S story takes us further than any Stepping Stones entry yet, from Leeds to Exeter, via Australia.

Her first purchase in 1976, jointly with her husband, was a re-possessed three-bedroomed Leeds semi which cost pounds 7,000: "We knew it was right for us and it was cheap." Three years later they moved to Australia, where Marjorie is from, and sold the Leeds house for pounds 11,000.

On arrival they and their baby daughter spent a few months in a caravan - "an experience", according to Marjorie. They progressed to renting a house in Melbourne before moving to Ballarat where they bought a weatherboard, three-bedroomed property, a bungalow by British standards, more prevalent in Australia with its relatively cheap land.

This house had a large garden and cost $28,000 (pounds 14,000). "Property was a bit dearer but salaries were higher." The Australian buying system differs in that chains are unheard of. "You get a bridging loan and if things go wrong it's your problem. It takes away some of the stress."

A job change four years later caused them to sell the Ballarat house for $36,000 (pounds 18,000) and move 50 miles south to Geelong where they bought an older, smaller house, again with large garden, for $40,000 (pounds 20,000). "It wasn't in the part of the city we wanted because we couldn't afford it but over 15 months the value of our property shot up and we found an affordable house where we really wanted to be."

Marjorie sold for $54,000 (pounds 27,000) and bought a four-bedroomed brick- veneer house, again in Geelong but in a suburb they liked, for $62,000, (pounds 31,000).

By 1990 Marjorie's husband was homesick and they made the difficult decision to return to the UK after selling their house for $98,000, (pounds 49,000).

Back in England they rented but when their belongings arrived they had to buy, this time in Exeter where they have family, and paid pounds 59,000 for a four-bedroomed ex-council end of terrace. Again it wasn't their preferred location and after receiving an inheritance they decided to move. The process took 18 months but eventually they sold at a loss for pounds 55,000 and bought a modern "upside down house" for pounds 66,000 on the other side of the county.

After their travels, they are finally in their chosen destination and have no plans to move: "Here we will stay until we are too old to climb the hills, a few years yet I hope."

Ginetta Vedrickas

Those moves in brief

1976 - bought Leeds repossession for pounds 7,000, sold for pounds 11,000.

1979 - bought Ballarat house for pounds 14,000, sold for pounds 18,000.

1982 - bought first Geelong house for pounds 20,000, sold for pounds 27,000.

1983 - bought second Geelong house for pounds 31,000 sold for pounds 49,000.

1990 - bought Exeter ex-council house for pounds 59,000, sold for pounds 55,000.

1998 - bought "upside down house" for pounds 66,000. Now worth over pounds 70,000.

If you would like your moves to be featured write to: Nic Cicutti, Stepping Stones, One Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5DL. pounds 100 will be awarded for the best story printed by 30 September

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