• Kevin Murphy

Britain: Fewer Homeowners Downsizing

More home owners are deciding not to downsize to a smaller property once the kids are grown and out of the house according to a recent survey. Instead they want to preserve the space for visits from grandchildren or optimise it for other uses. A recent survey by PropertyWire says that 45% of homeowners are not planning on moving to a smaller residence and that 65% saying they enjoy having the space available with the kids now out of the house and the new independence that comes with it.

When it comes to the financial aspect 41% say they are now better off financially and 37% say that this will give them more time for having visits from the grandchildren. The pursuit of a lifelong dream was at 6%. However, 26% of the households surveyed did not enjoy being in an empty home with 14% saying that had difficulty remaining in an empty house.

As for the size of their homes 40% say that while their home is certainly large they still choose not to move to a smaller property citing ties with the community and friendships keeping them in their existing large homes. Close to 32% say thanks to their financial situation they really have no reason to move somewhere else and 29% telling the survey that moving is just too much trouble. Of the 28% who stay for the space for grandchildren visits 20% say they decide to stay in their homes because of all the memories they have.

As for those homeowners who decide to move to a smaller home 40% want to downsize to a smaller home to reduce costs and 10% say remaining they simply can no longer afford being in a large residence.

Close to 30% want to move to a manageable flat with 27% considering a bungalow-style home.

Research shows that downsizing from a detached three-bedroom house to a bungalow or a flat would see a financial windfall on average of £109,659.

As a result two thirds upon selling their residences would invest in other financial products with 34% would fund their pensions and 15% giving the money to close family members.

New Developments Needed

Paula Higgins chief executive officer of HomeOwners’ Alliance, told The Express that new developments for homes for all ages in a village style setting are needed:

“House builders can’t be allowed to sit on their hands,” she says.

“The Government needs to keep them building – and building houses that meet the needs of last-time buyers as well as first-time buyers.”

“Most over-55s prioritise parking (77 per cent), low running costs (70 per cent) and good local shops (66 per cent), plus public transport links.’

BLP chief executive officer Kim Vernau calls for:

“An appropriate mix of well-designed homes alongside adequate local infrastructure to help address the current housing shortage.”

One example for retirement homes are luxury retirement communities by LifeCare Residences which has three developments in the UK. Most notably is the Battersea Place in south London that is for over 65s featuring maintenance-free units, 24-hour security and close public transport.

While these residential developments are new to Britain their popularity is growing rapidly.

Also in The Express Craig Percy, chief operating officer at LifeCare Residences says:

“Residents at Battersea Place will enjoy services such as a private chauffeur, a Michelin-experienced chef, a gym and pool, all of which cater to the increasing need to create a community in which residents can safely and securely continue to live life to the full, without compromising on their wellbeing or peace of mind.”

One-bedroom apartments at Battersea Place are priced from £535,000 featuring ‘fully equipped kitchens come with electrical appliances while the walk-in showers can be easily transformed into wet rooms.’

One new resident Virginia Darbyshire sold her four-bedroom house near Lavender Hill, south London, and purchased a two-bedroom unit:

“I wanted this to be my final move.”

“This meant I was looking for a property that offered flexibility and could accommodate me should I need day-to-day support or medical care. It offers on-site care that can be administered in the privacy of your apartment, as and when you need it, as well as a suite of nursing apartments, which you can move to if living independently is no longer possible.”

As for her two daughters Gaby and Alex they are supportive of their mothers home transistion:

“It is reassuring to know that they are in place should my circumstances change and ultimately this assured me that Battersea Place was the right move for me.”

“I’ve lived in New York for the past 15 years and have seen first-hand through friends’ parents how the housing infrastructure there caters much better to older people.”

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