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Lifestyle versus location

MUSIC teacher Mike Weir is the proud owner of a three-bedroom house, just minutes from the Lake District, with back and front gardens and a garage - all For a mortgage payment of pound;296 a month.

Originally from Strood, Kent, the 32-year-old has no intention of moving from Barrow-in-Furness where he has been teaching at Thorncliffe school for two years.

"I don't know how teachers in London manage to live on the change left out of their salaries after paying mortgages double that of mine for properties that would fit into my sitting room," he said.

Mr Weir's mews terrace cost him pound;44,000 and he reckons the equivalent in Kent would be twice the price.

He said: "I have a good standard of living here in Cumbria. I have a lovely house, which has been the scene of many summer barbecues, in an area which isonly a short distance from the beautiful Lake District."

Caroline Michael loves her job teaching dance, drama and English at Christ's school in Richmond, London. Unfortunately Richmond is a desirable area and property is beyond her price range.

Now she has decided to move out of the capital so she can save some money, possibly heading back to her native Wales where life is more affordable. She has been paying around pound;400 a month for a variety of shared flats in an area where pound;900 a month is not untypical. She has now moved to a cheaper part of south London where her rent is pound;181.

She said: "I can't afford to live in Richmond anymore, and I'm fed up with moving around in rented accommodation. It's impossible to save any money - lots of things, for example beer, are more expensive in London."

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