Ok – confession time.
A while back, my friend and I decided to buy a bungalow. It was a lovely little property, with plenty of room to improve it. Like many, we saw an opportunity and decided to convert it into a two-storey property for a family.
When we finished, we were extremely proud of what we had achieved and the property looked amazing. We had turned it around and made a decent profit.
My confession? Now, I’m not so sure that was the best thing to do as bungalows are in very short supply!
Don’t get me wrong, we created a great space for a family to live and for children to grow up. But now my thoughts are turning to what happens when those kids grow up, leave the nest and the parents are left with a property that isn’t quite right for them anymore.
As an industry, we spend a lot of time looking at first time buyers; the start of the chain and often those struggling to get onto the property ladder.
But what about those at the top of the ladder; our downsizer or ‘rightsizer’ generation?
The market has long pined for more properties to come to market and for chains to start flowing, but for those at the top of that chain, there just aren’t enough options around.
From what we know of Downsizers, they are looking for smaller properties that are easier to manage (i.e. a Bungalow – oops!), but 39% of them believe there is a lack of suitable properties on the market for them to move into.
Why? At that stage of your life, apart from looking to downsize, what else would you want? Well I would want to be near the same friends, the same doctor and dentist, close to my golf club and, of course, close to my usual pub! So where becomes just as important as what.
As a responsible and caring industry, we need to be aware of what’s hapenning on every step of the property ladder; be it first-time buyers and downsizers, or second-steppers and buy-to-let landlords.
By understanding our clients, their needs and their circumstances, we can truly help them and the market by keeping it moving and helping them achieve their homeownership dreams. At the moment, I’m afraid we have been fixing one side of the problem and not the other, so don’t expect the supply issue to be resolved until we have a holistic approach. It’s essential that we do.