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Young heads on old shoulders!

Moving tales of octogenarians ……

Last week I responded to an invitation from a married couple to provide an appraisal of their three bedroom semi-detached house in Galmington. Relieved at the relaxation of lockdown restrictions, they wanted to kick start their ambition to buy a larger, detached, house to accommodate their growing family.

‘This will be our last move’, advised my forty something host with firm resolve. ‘We’ll never need to move again after this’. WHAT?!? I asked myself. How could people at this relatively early stage of their lives possibly be so sure they wouldn’t ever need to move house again in the face of the multifarious experiences and challenges which inevitably lay ahead?

This meeting was in stark contrast to another which took place quite recently with an elderly but very sprightly couple who, following painstaking research, had decided upon a move to Torquay, where they could take advantage of a thriving ballroom dancing venue they had discovered in the vicinity.

The Gentleman who had summoned my assistance advised me he would shortly be reaching his 88th birthday and that his wife was not far behind, looking forward to celebrating her 86th anniversary a couple of months later. ‘We’re pretty sure we’re doing the right thing’, my foxtrotting friend cheerfully assured me, ‘We’re going to give it three years and if it’s not right, we’ll move on from there’!

On a similar theme, we’re presently conducting a search for another positively minded,      go-get, octogenarian. Just a year short of his 90th birthday, he has decided to downsize from his country retreat with 18 acres of land, to a bungalow nearer town – but he won’t consider anywhere with less than an acre! How cool is that! 

So just how inclined are we to settle down in one place? Studying recent research, a picture of comparative moving trends can be drawn. In the 1980s, with a booming market, we moved house every eight years. These days, in the face of so much uncertainty, it’s around fifteen years; this equates to moving roughly three to four times in a lifetime, a markedly sluggish rate compared to the more regular inclination to up sticks we used to embrace.

Overall, it’s believed that homeowners are now moving half as often as they used to. Pinned down by high house prices, difficulties getting mortgages and older people clinging on to large properties, homeowners are now likely to move only twice after their first purchase.

Before 2008, people moved an average of 3.6 times after their first purchase, now it’s a measly 1.8. Reasons for moving include a change of job, seeking better living conditions, an increase in family size and downsizing for retirement. Significant factors thwarting a move are affordability, first-time buyers finding themselves stuck on the first rung of the property ladder and, very topically, adverse effects of the Coronavirus.

By Chris Willey

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