Comment: Home is important, no matter what your age or budget
Building desirable retirement-friendly homes is laudable and necessary but they shouldn’t be confined to those who can afford luxury.
As a property publication we often write about houses, but we don’t always write about homes. It’s easy in a world where scarcity has led to obsession to forget that these supposed cash cows – complacently hogged by some, bitterly craved by others – are also places to play out the messy trials and triumphs of existence.
As such, these coldly evaluated brick and mortar (or steel and glass; or wattle and daub) structures are replete with emotional resonance particularly when they’re the place where you’ve grown up, or watched your children grow up.
For the Muswell Hill Creatives, finding a group of likeminded neighbours has heightened ties to the area for its members, who can now access professional and artistic support locally.
For some people planning to move on from the family home, retaining these local connections into old age is important. For others, discovering a new district or embracing a new lifestyle unhindered by demands for schooling or sports clubs is an exciting part of the adventure of retirement.
We’ve explored a few of the options available in north London for the euphemistically labelled ‘downsizer’ (after all, some over-60s moving to flats in Hampstead are also trading up the ladder) here.
What is particularly heartening about the developments we’ve looked at is how thoughtfully designed they are. Some are being built specifically for retirees, some clearly have them very much in mind, while others boast a range of property types to appeal to a variety of demographics.
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But all of the properties we’ve selected seem like places you might genuinely be excited to move into and call home. They’re a far cry from the dreaded retirement villages, which prospect would make me wish that I could sprint, rather than shuffle off this mortal coil.
There’s just one hitch. The glamour, enviable locations and five-star services come at a cost, and it’s very, very high.
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While I couldn’t be more full of applause for the intention to create aspirational properties where older people can create new homes within an attractive community and live there independently for as long as possible, we’re only part way there. The next challenge is creating this opportunity for everybody, regardless of wealth.