Family run house builders, Bellis Homes have noticed an increasing number of empty-nesters who are planning to downsize their existing property but also involve the rest of the family in their decision as to what to buy next.
This often results in a multi-generational co-purchase, where several members of the family own the property together used as a downsized, lower-maintenance home for the empty-nester and a holiday-or occasional weekend ‘pied-a-terre’ for the adult children.
We get the low down on this new trend from Henry Fordham, Director of Bellis Homes:
Q: With the Office for National Statistics forecasting that of the 65 million people currently in the UK, 8.45 million will live to 100 years old, how is Bellis Homes preparing for this growing older generation when planning your new developments?
A: We carefully consider the locations for our homes to ensure that they work for a range of owners and that the properties continuously suit them as they transition through different stages in life.
A younger person might need a good base to commute from, but they also need schools nearby and a range of other local services to make it easier to blend work and personal life.
Older residents, retirees and empty-nesters have different needs too and as they are living longer, are much more active and social than ever before and their daily lives reach far beyond the home.
Creating homes to suit the needs of more than one generation, be they living in the property at the same time or not, is something we are striving to really cater for when designing our developments.
Q: Traditionally retirees would remain in the family home once their children had left home. How has the way older adults live changed?
A: Whilst some retirees still enjoy the space and familiarity of the family home, re-decorating the house, tending to the gardens and hosting their grandchildren as they come to visit for Christmas and weekends, equally many feel the desire to start a new chapter in their lives once the kids leave home.
Many no longer want to stay in a home too big for their needs, where their children’s bedrooms now stand empty with doors closed and radiators turned off. They want to embrace their new freedom and make the most of it!
The answer, quite often, is to downsize. We are seeing more and more older clients making this choice and it can be a very positive move, an opportunity to start afresh rather than hang on to the past. As well as reducing high monthly outgoings and the hassles of upkeep, it can also release equity to supplement pension income.
Q: What options are there for downsizers?
A: The last few years has seen a real shift in the choice available for those looking to downsize. No longer is it either a small, 2-bedroom new build flat or a retirement community by the sea, today’s downsizers are demanding more and they have the funds to make it happen.
Here at Bellis Homes we are seeing more and more older buyers trading in their large family homes for centrally located, luxury apartments such as our new Four5Two development overlooking Hampstead Heath in North London.
The buyers of these exciting new apartments are drawn to the prominent Hampstead location and connectivity to central London. They are looking to live life to the full; hop on the tube to see the latest West End show, eat at Michelin starred restaurants, visiting the latest art exhibitions or simply take a stroll around the iconic Hampstead Heath upon which the apartments back onto.
Many buyers at Four5Two have purchased the apartments for themselves and often with their grown-up children to enjoy the space as equals. The apartments are modern and luxurious with stylish décor and double bedrooms for adult friendly accommodation.
Q: What else is proving appealing to these older buyers?
A: The 24/7 concierge we have put in place at Four5Two has proved a real draw for buyers. Being able to phone to the concierge day or night to order a taxi, to take delivery of the weekly shop, book theatre tickets or arrange the dry cleaning is a service highly valued by our older clients. They lead busy lives and enjoy the additional support and service which the concierge offers.
The security aspect we have also found to be very appealing. Knowing someone is always on site is comforting and being able to ‘lock up and leave’ the apartment for a weekend safe in the knowledge that your home is being kept an eye on is important for many of our buyers.
Other appealing features of Four5Two include the secure parking spaces, rare in London, which enables residents to retain their independence as well as the lifts to all floors to future proof accessibility.
Q: Do you feel that spacious apartments in central locations such as Four5Two will grow in popularity?
A: Empty-nesters still want to help their adult children and spend time with their grandchildren and the extended family however, they may not want to give up all their time, energy and freedom solely to be the supporting parent or caregiver but instead are looking for ways to socialise with their families on a more equal playing field, whilst keeping their independence and activities. They want to begin a new chapter in their lives and invite their descendants to share some aspects of it.
This can mean that they downsize and move to a more urban area where their children and grandchildren can visit and together they can explore all the interesting things that the area has on offer. That changes the dynamic between parent and adult child; it becomes shared leisure time, rather than them falling back into old pre-defined roles, which some – and often both parties – can find stifling.
To ensure the investment is as future-proof as possible, many downsizers are involving their adult children in the buying process, often investing together in something which is smaller than the original family home but still large enough to accommodate multi-generational sharing of the space as the primary address for one party and secondary to the other. This is where developments such as Four5Two tick many boxes.
Four5Two, Finchley Road, London
A selection of 13 high spec apartments in the prominent area of Hampstead.
With contemporary design, these apartments are arranged for deluxe living within a walkable distance from both Golders Green and Hampstead tubes stations. Several of the homes enjoy balconies with direct views over Hampstead park.
Apartments are available from £1.1 million.
For more information, contact Bellis Homes on 01279 424 733 or visit www.bellishomes.co.uk