Moving home during retirement
Now you have retired – or are forward planning for your retirement - you might want to think about moving home. After all, the number of 55 year-olds and over in the UK looking to downsize continues to grow, says the Home Owners’ Alliance (HOA).
What are some of the pros and cons?
- in a story published on the 23rd of April 2018, the Express newspaper carried the account of an elderly lady, now in her 90s, who considers moving home to be one of the best things she has ever done;
- having swapped a five-bedroom Victorian property for a one-bedroom apartment in a listed and converted former school, the woman in question describes how the money released from the sale of her old home has given her so many opportunities to indulge her passion for travel;
- since the move was into alternative accommodation in the same town, she continues to see all her old friends and neighbours, but is now more conveniently situated for the shops, and has access to many onsite facilities such as a gym, spa, swimming pool, restaurant and bistro bar;
- some lifestyle choices may be forced on you by ill health, though, as another correspondent explains to the newspaper and who urges anyone who is thinking of downsizing to “move when you can, not when you must”;
- apart from the changes in lifestyle, downsizing also offers the chance to release capital otherwise tied up in your former home – there is little advantage in being “asset rich but cash poor” in your retirement, goes a common argument;
- your monthly outgoings on heating, lighting, gas and water are also likely to be considerably less once you have moved from a large property into a smaller one;
- by the same token, expenditure on maintenance is also likely to be less – and made considerably easier to plan and manage if your move is into a full-managed condominium;
- counter-intuitively, perhaps, homeowners aged 55 and over are just as likely to upsize as to downsize, according to a report by Property Wire on the 31st of January 2018, citing figures released by the National House Building Council (NHBC);
- so, what are the downsides to downsizing that this group of pre- and post-retirees have concluded;
- lifestyle choice again enter the picture, since many homeowners who are little more than 55 years of age consider themselves to be “too young” to downsize – it is a move to be made much later in life;
- for similar reasons, many people in this age group are naturally wary of moving away from an area in which they have an established circle of friends and the social support they offer;
- a smaller home is not always more economical to run, and there are likely to be considerable costs involved in the move itself – estate agents fees, conveyancing fees, Stamp Duty, and removal costs, to name just a few;
- besides, argue some people, if you are concerned about releasing the capital tied up in your current home, one of the many equity release schemes may offer a way of enjoying the value of your assets without actually having to move home.
Moving home during your retirement is likely to be a question entirely of personal choice and your lifestyle preferences. Downsizing might achieve some economies – although not necessarily so – and the option of equity release on the property you currently own offers the chance to release the capital without having to move home.
The information contained in this article is correct at the time of writing.