“Bungalow Wild Goose Chase”

A bungalow is the dream retirement home of many older people.

I first wrote a blog about downsizing in 2012 when Grant Shapps, then a newly appointed Housing Minister announced a bold new initiative to encourage the elderly to move to smaller homes.  (Click on 31 Jan 2012 in the ARCHIVE to read it).  Needless to say, nothing came of it.

Then a year and a half later the press had another little frenzy about the need for thousands more bungalows to be built.  (See “Bungalow Mindset” and “Bungalow Metaphor” by clicking in the ARCHIVE on September 2013), but still no more bungalows we built!

A year later and another new Housing Minister launches another bold initiative or maybe it is just the same old useless idea dusted off again.  (See “Bungalow Brandon” in the ARCHIVE – January 2014), but even less bungalows were built as a result!

Now bungalows are back in the news again, another gullible journalist in the Daily Mail – 26th July 2016, yet again lamented the shortage of bungalows for downsizers.  The article was almost word for word taken from a survey by “My Home Move” a Leicester based group of conveyancers.

In a survey of 1,000 over 55’s considering a move, more than half wanted a property which was easier to manage and a fifth wanted to release equity from their current home.  These are the two main reasons downsizers want to move, but the difficulty is there are generally few options available.

It is estimated that there are 2.85 million over 55’s who would like to move to a smaller home, and half of these want a bungalow.  Herein lies the problem!   There will never be enough bungalows to satisfy the demand.

Land prices have rocketed in the last 30 years, and Government policy has focussed on starter homes and family houses.  Bungalows are the rocking chair on the porch image in many peoples’ minds for their retirement years.  But it is not at all realistic for most people.

Here are some facts on the subject:-

  • In 1985, 28,000 new bungalows were built;
  • Last year only 2,500 were built;
  • Just 1 in 63 of all new homes.

The financial reality is that housing developers need to build higher density housing to achieve a reasonable profit.  So the wishful thinking of customers, Governments, Estate Agents and conveyancers will only lead to unfilled dreams.

Bungalow Wild Goose Chase

We need an ambitious and realistic new policy for retirement housing, but it cannot be based on bungalows.

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4 Responses to “Bungalow Wild Goose Chase”

  1. it is an intriguing riddle? While younger in my formative years the 1950’s to 60′, retirement in a bungalow was a statement of fact, that if one lived in an urban conurbation,: that one had achieved, a most respectable way of life, and a lifetimes achievement of modest investment, and one was rather well off. Hence the developments along the seaside towns of the UK east and south and SW coast towns, where bungalows were in prominence. As one might say one ‘had arrived’! In the current climate of the younger people and:one’s children and to some extent siblings having to travel/commute for work either within the UK, Europe or even worldwide made the local communities in the old industrial heartlands destroyed, and the family and the greater family ties thrown to the seven seas, or winds.
    Now we have strangers, neighbours un related growing old and having to live together as a community- Here the concept of the ‘retirement village comes to the fore, and for the elderly living at one level is a recommended must, whether this is in a multi-storey complex, or a group of designed bungalows.
    As an individual in retirement and living out ones ‘golden years’, one has to balance, how one wishes to relate to ones family, and then neighbours and friends? where ever the bungalow or Bungalow living is situated, one has to be happy, and decide with ones head and heart, what happens as ones golden years turn to ones later days, and can one be happy or able to make any future decision with confidence and respect to health and financial arrangements.
    WE all age at varying rates: However we are all human beings, all of us have a heart and a sociable side to be with fellow humans to converse, talk and mingle with, which we all as individuals may have to consider.
    The upshot- bungalows are not for all of us!

  2. Mirror, Mirror on the wall who’s the fairest of them all?
    A gentle reflection of life within an Extracare Retirement Village.
    Every morning since puberty I have wet my face, even washed it, and then wet shaved! So that’s the blarney! Now why or what does my reflection remind me off, the boy, the teenager, the younger man, the husband, the father, grandfather or even now in my dotage the great grandfather? Do you know I have no idea: I am bleathering on, and reflecting in the way with words our/my fellow residents/friends and neighbours talk and communicate with me, and I with them.
    Dialects, the sing song of the Geordie, the deep roughness of a scot, a song from the welsh valleys, and then the brogue of an Ulsterman, and the absolute fairy tale blarney of the southern IRISH, AND THEIR PERCEPTION OF PEOPLE AND LIFE. I have not forgotten the dulcet tones of the east Anglian person, the dry humour of the Brummies’, of that nodding head of the Londoner selling ‘apples and pairs, and other such crap!
    It all makes me reflect gently in life that I am not the only person on this planet growing old, either gracefully or disgracefully, and that in this retirement village if I am too cocksure, then some wag will bring me too my senses, and so we can enjoy a convivial chat and banter, like this smiles and grumbles site by an old friend in spirit and thought, and indeed!
    It is that community spirit, and that belonging, that warms the cockles of my heart. What this has to do with a mirror on the wall, and my gentle reflection of my personal beauty I have no idea, if I breath heavily and blow gently on the mirror, it! The mirror becomes hazy, and blurred, not a perfect picture: In fact like life, something to behold, not an image, but a way of life? Just as if I was living in an Extracare Retirement Village. You did good John with your fellow trustees, all those years ago when a dream became a possibility, for us all! If we had or have a belief in ourselves?

    • john graham says:

      I am not sure what this has to do with bungalows. Still it is an interesting reflection on a much travelled life.
      Alice once peered through the looking glass and found a wonderland, I hope that’s where you are in your retirement village.
      Thanks for the post, you are writing you own life storey here and I am grateful for the way it adds colour to my observations of the world in retirement.

  3. Life like that? A Bungalow? The Flat earth society!
    Above or before in pages of this smiles and grumbles blog, I have had time to gently reflect on who I am or even, what am I doing here in this Retirement Village?
    One does not need a mirror, ones neighbours friends, staff, and visitors to this village, if they have a mind too will chat, banter and if necessary correct ones attitude to current day living within a retirement village.
    I have at times when one has a moment or two for reflection, retraced my memory vaults for those rich moments, of words spoken to me by my family , friends, neighbours.
    Dad and Mum as one was growing into those teenagers, guided, scolded and gently encouraged one to be more thoughtful, with one’s speech and actions when reacting to a point of courtesy or correction.
    This has absolute nothing to do with Bungalows: However the mind, mine in particular has been trained and honed through the years of my life, to think, and then talk and express oneself, sometimes like now by the written word, and then at other times in the dulcet tones of a Yorkshire man, born in Lancashire, and there again I cannot forget my years as a young marine engineer at sea, Blackout, early in the morning, disturbed from sleep, the ship pitching and yawing, in mid atlantic, all this in complete darkness ( a power blackout), while one as a team endeavoured to bring the joys of modern life-light, power, heat, and the return of a silent hum of an effectively working engine room. Again nothing to do with a bungalow, But then at times like this my Anglo Saxon, and that of my fellow shipmates came to the fore- Words of a dictionary had had never heard of before, but came to appreciate. Once the engine room was humming again we would either go on watch or retire to the accommodation, not to bed but to swing a few lamps and drink a few beers, like now?
    I in my retirement village have met many of life’s travellers, and again if one listens carefully they tell tales of yore, swing the occasional red and green lamp, or the bulkhead lamp have an occasional drink, play snooker, cards, bowls, dance and sing, and have a village social evening and from time to time volunteer not from duty but fulfilment in helping other villagers, meeting them, and having a chin wag in their native dialect.
    I gently roll back in my easy chair and think of my family, Father, mother, father in law and mother in law, and reflect on their choose words of wisdom: Quote- Son until you have children in your care, and you watch them mature, and grow, What we say to you now are but words- the deeds and your reflection in life will come when they come home in later life with their own partners and families? Maybe then you may understand what we are trying to teach you? And always believe in one ’s self, and be considerate and kind to others. Unquote
    Again nothing to do with bungalows, but there again we are not a flat earth society living at one level, but a rounded society, gently kicking forward with the ball of life!
    Are Bungalows for everyone of us???

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