September 16, 2022

General news Selling

Hemel Hampstead beating the cost-of-living crisis


Hemel Hempstead OAPs are Getting Jobs and Downsizing Properties to Beat the Cost-of-Living Crisis.


Hemel Hempstead OAP retirees have to make tough choices with the onset of the cost-of-living crisis. Growing inflation, unpredictable financial markets and the high cost of living mean many former retired Hemel Hempstead people are returning to work in what has been dubbed the ‘great unretirement’. Some are even bringing forward their downsizing house move.

Looking at the changing job market, July saw the most significant month-on-month rise in OAPs working since records began in the 1990s when 1 in 23 of all the UK’s OAPs went back into employment.

That now means 1,712 Hemel Hempstead over 65s are in gainful employment (i.e. 1 in 8 of them).

As a backdrop, the number of working 65-year-olds and above has been increasing since the mid-nineties when 736 Hemel Hempstead OAPs were employed. Yet, July’s figures were the largest monthly jump on record by quite a distance.

A Changing Property Market

Looking at the changing property market, I have been speaking to many Hemel Hempstead OAP homeowners who are having to bring their downsizing plans forward several years to survive the cost-of-living crisis. The money generated from the downsizing will cover their housekeeping and massive energy bills.

So why would someone want to downsize? Mostly, their homes are too big for their needs as their children have flown the nest decades before. The government classifies a property as under-occupied if it has two or more spare bedrooms.

How big is the under-occupation issue in the UK? Of the 4.52 million British homes owned by those aged 65 and over, 3.04 million have at least two spare bedrooms (i.e. under-occupied).

Looking locally, 12,884 of the 22,107 Dacorum OAPs have two or more spare bedrooms.  You might ask why this is important. Well, to start, it’s holding back Hemel Hempstead families that need the bedrooms and space these larger houses offer if the older occupants won’t move on. Also, these larger homes cost more to run in terms of energy bills and other things such as building insurance and council tax.

From October, (even with the recent energy bill cap) it will cost on average £354 per month in gas and electricity alone for a large Hemel Hempstead 4-bed detached home (where occupants are home all day).

So, why are there so many mature homeowners in their 70s, 80s and even 90s still living in houses that are too large for their day-to-day requirements? There are several reasons for this.

One is the obvious emotional attachment to the family home they have often owned since the 1970s and 1980s. The second is to escape the hassle and costs of the house move, and finally, the small number of suitable Hemel Hempstead properties for them to buy to attract them to make a move.

The growing energy bills have provoked many of those mature Hemel Hempstead homeowners who maybe can’t or do not wish to get a job to re-evaluate their home life strategy. I am seeing an ever-increasing number of mature Hemel Hempstead homeowners downsizing (or, as I prefer, rightsizing) to diminish their monthly expenditures.

How much could mature Hemel Hempstead homeowners gain by downsizing?

The numbers are intriguing when looking at the average difference between the sale price and the subsequent purchase price of the average downsizer.

Hemel Hempstead downsizers could unlock an average of £145,800 per household.

Not only will Hemel Hempstead homeowners earn this lump of cash for their extended retirement, but they will also save themselves around £178 per month in lower energy bills, buildings insurance and council tax bills.

So, what are the options for mature Hemel Hempstead homeowners? Waiting 12 months to make a move might mean you are putting your Hemel Hempstead home on the market as every other OAP homeowner puts their home on the market, meaning the dynamics of the local property market will probably be a lot different. Thus, the equity you release on the downsize could be much lower.

Yet some of you will be worried about finding your next home. Not to worry. At our agency, we do things differently than many other Hemel Hempstead estate agents. We can find you a buyer, then put everything on ice and go and find you a property to buy. We guarantee you won’t be made homeless if you or we can’t find another home for you to move to. We call it peace of mind!

If you would like a chat about this, without any obligation, or get an accurate valuation of your current home if you were to sell it, please contact our teams in the Castles Berkhamsted office on 01442 865252 or Castles Boxmoor on 01442 233345


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