OLIVER MILES reflects on the changing mood of home buyers and why now, more than ever, finding a property that fits well is important – at all stages of life.
We hear so much about up-sizing and down-sizing in the property market. But, now especially, the correct thing to do is right-size. That is to live in the space which suits you best. Today it is just not that sensible to rattle around in a huge family house when the children have left home. At a time of life and in a financial climate when it's best to hang on to hard-earned capital, spending it on rooms and space that are never needed is an extravagance. Also, many empty nesters are right-placing - seeking to return to town and city centres where they can be close to a larger range of facilities. Right-sizing also provides the opportunity to move into higher specification accommodation. For many trading down offers the opportunity to purchase a bolt hole in the sun. Prices in countries such as Spain, France and Portugal are still rock bottom but there are signs that this is set to change, so now seems a very good time to buy abroad with cash.
Up-sizing is another matter. Co-habitation and starting a family often require more space not less. But this is a great time for first time buyers to be on the move as interest rates are still at their lowest ever. But there is so little on the market in many areas. This is putting upward pressure on prices. So the ability to buy with finance all set, and lots of determination to succeed quickly is required.
There are fears of further global financial turbulence ahead. We live in an uncertain political world and here in the UK there are big questions on our future relationship with Europe and a housing shortage. For many now is a particularly good moment for prudence - for right-sizing, right-placing and right-timing.
The market is still active and filled with great opportunities but caution is needed – caution, and good representation. It is no secret that successful people get that way because they obtain the best advice from the best people. That applies to those buying and selling property also. A good local estate agent who really knows the market is the key to successful right-sizing.