When they bought their Kent home in 2000, James and Mellissa Wright and their children comfortably fit into the 4 bedrooms, a multi-level house that was unique in the extensive suburban development.
But with life milestones have come and gone, and the children grew and moved out. The couple paid off the mortgage and the house now completely belongs to them, though Mellissa’s knee replacement surgeries have always reminded her that the 14 stairs between the floors would not get any easier to climb.
And eventually, the couple arrived at the common ground and agreed that it was time to sell the home and move to another house that better suits their lifestyle. However, after looking at the available choices in Canterbury, they become so discouraged that they started to consider another option – installing an elevator.
“There’s one that’s gear-driven and another that’s pneumatic, with the gear-driven one, one can move from the first to the second floor and this costs between £21,500 – £31,500 range,” says Mellissa, at 80 retired from the extensive career in teaching and writing. And that’s pretty expensive, but after you consider the homes out there in the market, costs of moving, and other expenses, you feel stuck with a property that you don’t really need.
For many older UK homeowners, the thoughts of moving to a home where the layout and design plus other expenses make more sense usually face the same challenges that first-time homebuyers face. Very few available options really fit their needs and the few that do, tend to be pretty expensive.
The existing real estate market conditions have forced many homeowners, especially the older adults to seek other options outside the hassles of the ballooning real estate market, whether this means installing accessory dwelling units (ADUs) that will help them stay in their homes or taking in younger adults into their home.
Downsizing has become a common scenario among many older UK homeowners. At a point in life when most older adults have paid off their mortgage and wish to cash out, move to a new home and probably get some of the equity left, sparse inventory and astronomical prices have created a difficult reality.
Shaw, V. (2021, June 2). More than half of home owners stuck in ‘unsuitable’ properties, survey finds. The Independent. https://www.independent.co.uk/business/more-than-half-of-home-owners-stuck-in-unsuitable-properties-survey-finds-b1858651.html
Fyfe, W. (2021, May 26). Homes in Wales bought before viewing in ‘mad’ housing market. BBC News. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-57245851
Home ownership among people aged 35-44 has plunged – ONS. (2020, February 10). the Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/money/2020/feb/10/home-ownership-ons-rent