Why Chingford & Highams Park OAP Homeowners Decide Not to Move.

10th September 2021

Why Chingford & Highams Park OAP Homeowners Decide Not to Move.

A recent report by Legal & General stated that since the pandemic, many older homeowners had put their plans to move home ‘on ice'.

It’s said that fewer OAP homeowners are planning to downsize from their large family homes after the pandemic made them realise the actual value of their ow home, garden and local community.

For those Chingford & Highams Park OAPs that do wish to move the issue is that the choice of property they could buy to downsize is limited. This scarcity of properties for sale, called the 'housing crunch’, can be seen by that lack of choice of properties for OAPs to move to.

There are only 66 ground floor apartments are for sale within a 1-mile radius of E4.  In a 'normal' Chingford and Highams property market, I would expect this to be double or even triple this number.

So, why is this an issue for everyone else?

Well, as Chingford & Highams Park OAPs aren’t moving from their large 3 and 4 bed homes to smaller bungalows or ground floor apartments, it’s creating a blockage on the housing ladder.

E4 families, in their 30’s and 40’s, are desperate for larger 3 and 4 bed homes for their ever-expanding families. But if the OAP sellers of those family houses aren’t moving, they will remain overcrowded in their existing homes.

Let’s look at the numbers first.

  • There are 4.42m UK over-65 property owners, and their properties are worth a combined £1.53 trillion (which covers just under three-quarters of the national debt).
  • 71.3% of those aged 65 and over own their home (although 1 in 10 still have a mortgage).
  • There are 6,425 (E4) homes occupied by OAPs, representing 26.8% of all the households in Chingford & Highams Park (notable compared to the UK average of 31%).
  • 84.5% of those E4 OAPs are retired, meaning the rest are still working! (The national average is 83.4%).
  • The total value of the property in Chingford & Highams Park owned by OAPs is £2.22bn.
  • 68.4% of E4 OAPs own their home outright (compared to the national average of 65.8%), and 5.4% of E4 OAPs own their home, albeit with a mortgage (compared to the national average of 5.5%).

Many E4 OAP homeowners simply love the house and neighbourhood they live in, often living in their homes for over 25+ years.  I talk to many mature Chingford & Highams Park homeowners who say they are afraid to put their home on the market, because they believe (incorrectly) they'll never be able to find a suitable home to move to.

I can only share my opinions on the matter. The one thing I have seen in my years in the property market is that many leave it too late to move home. When they do move, they aren’t fit enough to do all the jobs in their new home.  Indeed, is it better to move home in your late 60's/early 70's, meaning you can still do the little things to make your new house a home, rather than in your late 70's/early 80’s and find the jobs are much harder to do?

Also, if you are worried about finding your next home, get yourself on the mailing lists of all the Chingford & Highams Park estate agents.

A recent study showed only 1 in 6 buyers were on an agent’s mailing list for the property they bought. Therefore, by being on the mailing list, you will get to know of any suitable properties coming on the market before most others. This is important in this housing market; a property is often sold STC before it hits Rightmove (to a buyer that put themselves on the agent’s mailing list).

By downsizing, you could use the additional funds to top up your pension, take the family on a holiday of a lifetime (once it’s safe to do so of course), or help your children get on the housing ladder themselves with a deposit for their own home.

I fully appreciate many of the 4,737 OAP homeowners in Chingford & Highams Park have many reasons to stay, be that sentimental, friendship, support networks etc.

My advice to all of you is to do your homework, put yourselves on the mailing lists of agents (in case the property of your dreams comes up) and do what is best for you. By downsizing, you are giving yourself better options for your quality of life and massive opportunities to spend more time on the things you enjoy like your family, holidays, or even helping others.

The choice, as they say, is yours.

If you want to ask me anything property related, please drop me a line to discuss the matter further at no cost or obligation.

Stats from Land Registry, Rightmove, Office of National Stats and Denton House Research.