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