Thursday, 04 September 2014
Buying Victorian Property: Terraced Houses
What is a Victorian house?
A Victorian house typically means any house built during the reign of Queen Victoria, from 1837 to 1901. Houses were often built in a terrace and were typically made of brick with a slate roof. They also tend to be recognised by their large sash windows.
The nouveau riche
As wealth began to flow more freely through the classes, elevating many to the status of "nouveau riche", more homes were built as status symbols to help people show their neighbours how well they were doing.
It was also a time when workers were needed to fill the various factories and industrial mills that were popping up across the country. Homes obviously needed to be built to accommodate them all. Villages began to morph into towns and cities became more sprawling, as the two-up/two-down revolutionised the way the working classes lived.
Rise of the middle classes
For all intents and purposes, the Victorian era saw the rise of the middle classes. Good-sized homes became more common through a combination of reduced labour, construction costs and the increased earning power of a larger number of people.
Though the mix of styles was particularly eclectic throughout the Victorian period, the house types most associated with the era are the mass-produced red brick terraces. Often built close to the factories, they were unpleasant with no indoor plumbing and multiple families sharing the space. Today’s terraces have hopefully improved!
Many such terraces were demolished during the 70's "modernisation" period, where architecture of some very questionable taste replaced them, but the surviving Victorian terraced buildings have often been praised for their high build-quality at the original point of construction.
It is said by English Heritage that the average Victorian terraced house is as much as 60% cheaper and more efficient to maintain than an equivalent modern home. Shared walls allow for effective heat conservation, which can be properly capitalised upon with the addition of roof insulation when required.
The main downsides of buying a Victorian terraced house will usually be covered in two points:
1. Noise: No matter how well they were built, Victorian terraced properties are still likely to have particularly thin walls and general proximity will cause a certain amount of noise pollution in many cases.
2. Parking: Few Victorian terraced homes were developed with a thought spared for transport needs, what with cars not being invented or readily available at the time, and the workers were not expected to go anywhere aside from work anyway.
Though living in a Victorian home may make it harder to get home insurance, there are still places where you will be able to find period property insurance cover.
Most Victorian terraced houses are not listed buildings but their age and party walls give them a seemingly higher risk when compared to other common properties, and many insurers will not offer period house insurance cover as a result.
With HomeProtect though, you can get a competitive online quote for house insurance for period property no matter what type of period home you have. We offer insurance for historic buildings of all types; as long as it is on fixed foundations in the UK, we can almost certainly offer you an online quote.