Today’s retirees want homes that offer a much broader range of interests, says ANDREA WATSON
WHEN it comes to retirement, it seems that many people are tearing up the rule book. No longer content with a quiet bungalow by the sea, they want a buzzing pad near an urban centre with plenty of social life.
“Genteel south coast towns and quiet West Country backwaters might spring to mind as the places most retired people want to live, ” said Liam Bailey, head of research at Knight Frank, which has just issued a new report on the growing trend. “But our research shows that the biggest growth in the over-65 age group over the next decade will be in and around the main urban areas.”
Retiring baby boomers are the country’s fastest-growing demographic group; they’ll account for half of all household growth over the next 16 years. This generation will live longer, healthier and more active lives than any before.
To enjoy this extra lease of life to the full, they want to be near shops, theatres and cinemas as well as family and friends. They want to remain close to the town even when opting to live in the country. They want fast internet access and places to pursue hobbies. They also expect security and homes which require little maintenance.
Many have enough equity in their family homes to allow them to sell up and buy not one but two retirement properties. They may opt for a place in the country as well as having a small flat in town.
In some cases they might have a UK base and a house overseas.
“While there are obvious hotspots in areas we might expect – north Devon, Cornwall, the Suffolk coast and the Yorkshire Dales – most of the growth hotspots are close to towns and even cities, ” said Mr Bailey, citing parts of Buckinghamshire, Rutland, Suffolk, East Yorkshire and Northamptonshire.
New homes by Bellway in the grounds of the Goodwood Estate are perfectly suited to the new generation of retirees wanting a place in the country that is near a major cultural and social centre. The Grange, an eightacre development at Westhampnett, near Chichester, West Sussex, features a collection of designer homes that are traditional with a contemporary edge. The properties follow a strict design charter that reflects Sussex architecture with local materials such as brick and flint. The homes offer views of the South Downs and parts of the famous Goodwood Estate, home to horseracing, motorsport events, aeronautical activities, two golf courses, hotel and spa and even an organic farm.
The site is in a wooded section of the estate and many mature trees have been retained.
Homes are available for immediate occupation and prices range from £245,000 for a twobedroom house to £425,000.
Paul Pheysey, director of BMB Property, which is increasingly developing retirement villages that offer excellent facilities, said:
“The days of offering just a wardened building are over.” BMB has two sites in London, each with approximately 125 apartments, which are to be developed as retirement schemes. In Leicestershire, it has also just launched Welland Place in Market Harborough town centre, which has 103 apartments and includes an array of premium facilities such as a restaurant, lounge, TV/cinema room, library, swimming pool, spa and gymnasium plus a clinic. Prices at Welland Place start from £139,500 for a one-bedroom apartment.
Letcombe Regis, in Oxfordshire, a development by Richmond Villages, is designed to address the demand for more choice among the over-55s. Facilities include a wellness spa with a swimming pool that will be available to the local community, a restaurant, café, IT room and library, craft rooms and a bowling green.
Landscaped grounds include lakeside gardens and a nature reserve with disabled access for all residents.
There’s also an on-site care team and a care home at the heart of the village providing 24-hour nursing and dementia care.
Richmond Villages offers a choice of packages at all its developments ranging from independent to assisted living.
Independent living apartments are priced from £295,000, assisted living apartments from £240,000.
Twigden Homes has just three bungalows priced from £324,995 at its Midsummer development in Cambourne, near Cambridge, ideally located for those who want to enjoy the best of both town and country living.There are 80 acres of country parkland, 160 acres of newly planted woodland, 20 acres of eco-park and 13 acres of wetlands, while Cambourne is just nine miles from Cambridge.
The Grange: 01243 785835/ www.bellway.co.uk
Letcombe Regis, Oxfordshire: 01235 773970/www.richmondvillages.com
Welland Place: Andrew Granger & Co: 01858 431 315/ www.andrewgranger.co.uk
Knight Frank: 0121 200 2220/ www.knightfrank.co.uk
Midsummer: 01954 719518/ www.kierhomes.co.uk