Moving back to Manchester?

I’m feeling a bit stuck where I am at the moment, and considering moving back to Manchester. Initially I thought buying a house in Bury would be the right move, but I’m having to spend the equivalent (and more) of a service charge on jobs such as new boiler, new garage roof etc. The property is also just too big for me—I don’t even use two of the rooms—and keeping on top of the two gardens is a bit much (I like gardening, but not the amount which is required to keep everything ship-shape). Location isn’t a problem most of the time, but in the evenings I often end up waiting for a bus or walking from Bury to my house (about 25 minutes—fine in summer but less so in winter).

The advantages of moving back to Manchester would be proximity to social activities (I’d be able to stay for a drink after meetings), reduced maintenance work (I’d probably buy a flat in the city centre or Didsbury) and access to a wider job market (Bury is too far out to commute to places like Stockport or Liverpool).

Disadvantages are the hassle and cost of moving, being a bit further from family, and having a smaller living space. The hassle of moving doesn’t bother me too much as I’m used to it, and the bulk of my possessions are books which can be boxed up in advance and moved to my parents’ house for a short time. Cost is a nuisance, but the interest saved by overpaying on my mortgage would absorb a large chunk of that. Distance would mean I couldn’t pop round to my grandparents’ for a cup of tea on a whim, but getting to Bury and back in a morning is easily achievable.

If I moved back and continued to work from ‘home’, I’d actually find a cheap office in the city centre and use that instead. It would cost a bit of money, but would allow me a wider choice of lunch venues and mean that I would already be in the city centre when it came to evening meetings. It would also create a distinction between home and work which I think is a good thing.

I’m currently pondering whether to put the house on the market as-is, and accept that I might not get as much as I’d hope and selling might take a while, or pay for pieces of work to be done in the hope that this will up the selling price by at least the cost of the work. House prices appear not to have moved much since I bought, and a new owner would have fewer jobs than I did.