Tim Firth, Director of Sales for Jackson-Stops & Staff’s Weybridge branch, comments:
- What sort of person makes this return to London – is it all about empty nesters, early retirees, or younger people just fed up of being away from London and sitting on the drain? Who are the archetypal returners?
Over the past six months we have noticed a real increase in the number of retirees and grandparents in particular that are moving back to the London suburbs. They are looking to downsize and favour locations such as Wimbledon and Battersea, which are still very residential but close enough to the city to offer easy access to all amenities.
- What are the key reasons they want to move back to London? What do they tell you about why they feel they’ve had enough of the Home counties and commuting?
The primary reason for the move among this demographic is to look after grandchildren. Very often, there is real comfort is moving to be closer to their family, particularly if a partner has passed away and they are now living alone. For the younger family, with childcare costs in London at such high levels, this is often a great solution which ensures that the grandparent is now a closer part of the family unit.
- What sort of property are they typically selling – a large country house, family home in a town, flat …
Typically, they are moving from large family homes they have lived in for around 20 years.
- What sort of property do they want to buy? And why?
They now want to live in relatively spacious, modern lateral apartments, which also benefit from great views. Something that is low maintenance but which appeals to their lifestyle is key.
- What locations do they seem to prefer, and why?
Their preference appears to be prime South West London, which is generally where their children live. This area also offers fantastic housing stock and is well served by transport links so it is often a relatively easy decision on where to locate themselves.
- If I assume that most will end up with smaller properties is this simply because the equity they have won’t stretch as far in London? Or is it a positive choice to have a lower maintenance, cheaper to run home? Or a bit of both?
In our experience, they often want to move to smaller properties not only because they are more manageable but chiefly for future financial planning. Smaller properties cost less which frees up capital, ensuring that they have enough equity later on in life. At present, it is usual to purchase at around 50% of the value in which they are selling.
- Do you think this sort of mover is increasing/decreasing? and if so, why.
The migration of retirees back to London is certainly increasing as grandparents play a more important role in their grandchildren’s lives. In addition, increases to house prices over the past few decades means that many are now relatively cash rich if they sell so there is an appeal to moving back to London and being able to enjoy all of the cultural amenities available.
Tim can be contacted on 01932 821160 in our Weybridge branch for more information