Adrian Tod at Hayward Tod looks at a resurgent property market that promises a great deal but still needs handling with some care. An ageing population and a need for many to adjust their lifestyles accordingly will have an effect on the property market.
The baby boom generation now looking retirement in the face; the knock-on effect of the financial crisis; the need for many to help their twenty- and thirty-something offspring get onto the housing ladder and the desire to live in less demanding and extravagant houses that are far too big for ageing owners - all these things can’t occur without impacting at some stage on the property market.
For many the answer is downsizing. Far from being seen as a retrograde step it is increasingly becoming an opportunity to engage in a more active and expansive life of travel and adventure.
More and more downsizers are creating a new dimension in the property market. Larger flats and smaller elegant houses in and around suitable towns and cities, where upkeep is minimal and amenities are close at hand, are increasingly sought after. Once living in these owners can lock-and-leave when they head for foreign parts, the golf course or a long-wished-for second home.
All this is exciting but with it comes pressure to provide suitable housing and a hanging question over who will buy the larger houses they leave behind. Despite concerns over a mansion tax and a greater than ever desire to live within one’s means we think the market for larger houses will remain strong but only if prices astutely reflect the mood of buyers.
So, with the market in visible recovery, this could be a very good time for savvy sellers to downsize. Government initiatives over the coming months should further stimulate the market and low interest rates for the time being will tempt housing ladder climbers. We don’t know what the long-term market future will be. But we do know that a move now will take advantage of an extraordinary set of market conditions.
Planned well and executed skilfully - with the help of a mature and knowledgeable estate agent -downsizing can be fun. Remember, "Gather ye rosebuds while ye may/Old time is still a-flying" . . .