There are typically two types of downsizer purchases in London: those who move within their neighborhood to be close to friends and family, sell their large family home and choose a smaller property; and those who move to the bright lights having sold in the countryside, to be closer to the cultural offer of the capital.
“Early on in the lockdowns we noticed that redundants were moving out of London and buying in towns and villages,” says Paul Price of Marsh & Parsons.
“However, that trend is starting to reverse. A client sold his family home in Barnes during the Covid crisis for a small cottage on the outskirts of Guildford, Surrey. A year later, he sold everything and moved back into Barnes, this time to an Edwardian mansion block complex closer to Hammersmith Bridge. He didn’t realize how inconvenient it would be (having moved out of town) to meet friends or go to the theater,” he says.
Research by Savills reveals that Merton, Westminster, Camden, Richmond and Wandsworth are the top five boroughs for redevelopers, based on proximity to healthcare, services, transport and green space. Downsizers often stay within the same district, but change the type of property they buy to a gated, gated riverside apartment block, for example, so they can travel easily, or a mansion with large side apartments and elevators, Price adds.
Ron Neil, 80, a former BBC executive, spent 30 years in a grand Victorian house in Richmond Hill, raising a family with his wife Isobel, before moving to a flat near Teddington overlooking the Thames. “I loved the old house, but it had four floors and five rooms for the two of us,” says Ron. “It needed a lot of love and the boiler failed every winter.”
The new apartment at Teddington Riverside has underfloor heating, a new fitted kitchen and a large terrace with river views. They are still close to their friends in Richmond and have found new favorite places in the town of Teddington.
One-bedroom apartments at Teddington Riverside start from £610,000; two bedroom houses from £800,000