Thinking of downsizing and buying a new home?
This article provides some great tips
when considering options for buying the perfect home
that will suit your current lifestyle in retirement.
Homeownership is about more than having a roof over your head. It’s about relationships, emotional milestones and the stage of life you’re in. With this in mind, Carl Coetzee, CEO of BetterBond, offers some advice for buying a home as you head into your golden years.
The less-is-more 50’s
A large portion of house sales that took place in the second quarter of 2021 were by homeowners downscaling due to a change in life stage according to the FNB Estate Agents’ Survey (July 2021). Many of these transactions were from empty-nesters who decided that owning a large home when the children had moved out was no longer necessary. “Downsizing a property need not mean that the value of the next home will always be less. In many cases, these buyers have more financial leeway to spend on a home that meets their needs,” explains Coetzee. According to BetterBond’s application data for September, the average purchase price for buyers in this age group over the past 12 months was R1.62 million, compared with their counterparts in their 30s who are spending on average R1.36 million on a home.
For empty-nesters, a change in homes could mean moving to a lifestyle estate that offers a host of amenities and activities. Alternatively, if their children have moved overseas, a lock-up-and-go property will be more desirable than a larger family home that demands attention and maintenance. “We often see buyers in this age category buying inner-city luxury apartments that could be close to work, or to amenities that they enjoy,” observes Coetzee.
Alternatively, this age group can afford to move away from urban centres to areas usually associated with holiday accommodation. “In September, Lightstone highlighted ‘towns with churn’ across the country where buyers are relocating to new developments. Hartenbos near Mossel Bay is an example of a town bustling with buyer activity, with over-50s showing a keen interest in newly launched estates in the area.
The serene 60’s
The notion of retirement has certainly evolved, says Coetzee. “People are living longer, and enjoying more active lives. So the focus has shifted from retirement to wellness, with a growing need for accommodation that offers a range of benefits.” Retirement lifestyle villages with various property options to meet a retiree’s evolving needs have become popular. While a freestanding home is ideal for a couple, a widow may prefer a smaller home or an apartment.
These villages offer wellness amenities such as gyms and swimming pools, as well as opportunities for social engagement. “The pandemic has highlighted the importance of being able to safely interact within a community. Lifestyle retirement villages allow for this, and also ensure that all safety precautions, such as controlled access to the properties, are in place,” says Coetzee. There is also on-site medical and frail care.
Whether buying or building a new home, there are features that will make it attractive to buyers in this age cohort, says Coetzee. Smart technology, that includes Wi-Fi to allow for easy communication with family, is a must. Many have also shifted to online medical consultations since the pandemic. Single-level homes with wider passages and no stairs will make it easier to accommodate assisted living arrangements when needed, adds Coetzee. Look for a bathroom with a walk-in shower. Security is also top-of-mind for retirees and their families who may not live nearby.
“There’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to choosing the ideal home. As your needs change, depending on your life stage or your family’s requirements, so too will expectations for your home,” concludes Coetzee. “Fortunately, with the current favourable lending environment, there is ample opportunity to make the best choice to suit your current lifestyle.”