The Great Escape


With Brits, both young and old, re-evaluating their living situations in a post-Covid world, award-winning developer Inspired Villages, reveals the benefits moving out of bigger cities can have for the golden generation

Recent research has highlighted the shift in attitudes to big city life, with an estimated 74,000 homes bought outside of London by people moving out of the capital last year – marking the highest total in four years. Right Move has found that over half of property enquiries from Londoners are to homes outside the capital, up from 42% of enquiries last April. It’s argued that this sudden shift is down to various factors such as lack of outdoor space, quality of life and the increasing cost of living.

While 55% of 18-34-year-olds living in the capital have expressed a wish to move and are already considering living elsewhere, it’s not just the young who are wishing to leave the hustle and bustle behind post-pandemic. Inspired Villages is home to a host of retirees who have chosen to downsize with the unique opportunity to take back control of their physical, mental and social wellbeing in lockdown, with the later living operator seeing enquiries for its properties rise 40% year-on-year, and 80% growth from Q1to Q4 in 2020.

Joanna, 69, moved to Durrants Village in May 2020 after living for 47 years in her previous home in Wimbledon, London. She moved to be closer to her daughter and for the support Inspired Villages offers residents.

Describing her lockdown life in London she says: “I had a good neighbour next door, I could see her standing on the path and talk from a distance, but I didn’t see anybody apart from that really, I couldn’t see my children, it was very lonely being in Wimbledon at that time. Here at Durrants, I know all the people in my cul-de-sac, and they’re all so friendly. I feel more supported, and I feel safer than in my previous home.”

“I live in a cottage at Durrants. Previously in London, I lived in a detached three-bedroom house, by Wimbledon Common. The house was beautiful, but it was absolutely for the best that I moved. It had to be something really special to make me up sticks – but what I have at Durrants is special, because it offers more”

“Priorities for me now are family, being able to socialise and make new friendships. I’m also looking forward to being able to enjoy free time properly by going on trips.”

Downsizing from city homes that are no longer suitable to a retirement community with housekeeping and maintenance teams on site, helps minimise the stress of home ownership for over 65s. Residents are therefore left with more time to pursue all the activities on offer and enjoy their time in the suburbs with like-minded individuals.

In addition, Inspired Villages offers potential home buyers a stress-free ‘rightsizing’ process by taking away the maintenance and hassle associated with moving house. Inspired Villages offers a generous moving package, to supplement the Government’s extends stamp duty holiday, and flexible moving options, such as the financial freedom of renting which became available at the villages in 2020.

The developer also this year launched its Part Exchange Scheme, offering soon-to-be residents the chance to confirm a guaranteed buyer making the selling process a quicker, less stressful experience.

Jamie Bunce, CEO at Inspired Villages, commented: “It’s really interesting to see the change in attitudes to city life amongst all generations, but especially that of retirees. The pandemic has forced homeowners to consider what they want out of their property and how they measure their quality of life. The difficulties of the city living have been in the spotlight over the past year, including the lack of gardens and well-ventilated outdoor areas, small living spaces and the density of people making social distancing more troublesome.

“We’ve seen increased demand for our properties over the past year and it’s clear that the benefits of moving into a retirement village are becoming more well-known which is key. We want to change the misconceptions surrounding retirement and raise awareness of the benefits of living in a socially engaged environment outside of the city as over 65stransition into a new phase of their life. Retirement villages offer a safe and manageable private home, putting the health and happiness of the residents to the forefront and allowing them to become more independent, sociable and active, as well as enabling them to live longer in housing that is suitable for their needs.”

Inspired Villages, which has already established six retirement villages, has an ambitious pipeline to match this increased demand for the all-inclusive lifestyle it offers for over 65s and is set to deliver 5,000 age-appropriate homes across the UK.



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