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Buying or renting a retirement bungalow

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By Richard Groom • 20th April 2023 • 4 min read

Life in an over-55 retirement bungalow

Retirement bungalows can offer a real sense of community living amongst people of a similar age. But this type of property does tend to come at a premium – so how do you decide if it’s right for you?

In our guide to over-55s retirement bungalows, we look at whether they might be right for you:

  • What is an over-55 retirement bungalow?</span
  • Pros and cons of retirement bungalows
  • Over-55s retirement bungalows for sale
  • Over-55s retirement bungalows for rent

We finish with a quick look at whether you can release equity from your retirement bungalow as a way to boost your later life finances if you already live in one.

What is an over-55 retirement bungalow?

Retirement bungalows are typically found in housing developments purpose-built for older buyers aged 55+. These single-storey retirement properties offer private, self-contained housing in a secure setting. They’re ideal for anyone wanting to live in a community with similar aged people. 

Usually sold on a leasehold basis, they are typically built alongside other property types, such as blocks of one and two-bedroom retirement apartments, houses and flats. This ensures affordable housing is also available on the estate together with the larger, often more expensive bungalows.

Pros and cons of retirement bungalows

There are some pros and cons to consider when choosing whether to move into an over-55 retirement bungalow. Here are our thoughts…

Pros: simplicity and flexibility

The single-storey build makes getting around safer and easier for those of us who are less able, or simply less confident dashing up and down stairs. Bungalows tend to be smaller with fewer rooms than a house, therefore easier to maintain and less arduous to clean.

You’ll also enjoy a quieter setting without busy young families living in close proximity, ideal if you’re seeking some tranquillity in later life. If you move into a retirement village then handy communal facilities can include shared gardens, leisure facilities and even a restaurant or café. Pets are usually welcome too!

Some over 55 retirement bungalows also provide care and support services onsite. Some have the benefit of 24-hour support should you have an emergency or require assistance.

Cons: an expensive choice?

On the other hand, retirement housing can be more expensive to rent or purchase compared to properties elsewhere. 

Furthermore, if you purchase a leasehold retirement bungalow then you will usually have to pay ground rent and a service charge, too. Service charges cover the cost of services provided by the freeholder which can include repairs, maintenance of communal areas, insurance and more.

Over-55 retirement bungalows for sale

There are a number of main developers for retirement villages, where over-55s retirement bungalows to buy are usually found. They include McCarthy Stone, Audley Retirement Villages, Anchor and Retirement Villages. There are likely to be many more smaller private developers locally to you, too.

RightMove is a good starting point to get an idea of what is available locally. A search for retirement bungalows in London, for example, shows available properties on the market ranging from £281,000 up to £475,000.

Outside the capital, the McCarthy Stone website shows over-55 retirement bungalows for sale starting from £269,950 for a 1-bedroom bungalow in Lincolnshire. Prices go up to £597,450 for a 3-bedroom bungalow in Norwich. 

If you are planning to purchase a retirement bungalow or other type of retirement property, make sure you read this helpful guide to Buying Retirement Housing by Age UK.

Over-55 retirement bungalows for rent

There are many fantastic over 55 retirement bungalows to rent across the UK. The easiest way to find them is by searching online with a retirement property developer such as Retirement Villages. 

A quick search on their site brings up a 2-bedroom retirement bungalow in Surrey, for instance, with a rental price tag of £2,950 per month. That high level of rent reflects the overall cost of property in Surrey. But there are cheaper options elsewhere. 

For example, RightMove has options for finding over-55 retirement bungalows for rent across the UK. A search on their site for retirement bungalows in Yorkshire brings up properties ranging from a much more affordable £446 to £725 per month.

Can I get equity release if I own a retirement bungalow?

Equity release is a way to free up some of your home’s value to spend however you wish. It is available to homeowners who are 55 and over. 

You may be able to unlock a tax-free cash lump sum from your retirement bungalow with an equity release plan. It depends very much on:

  • Your age
  • Your property value
  • How much outstanding mortgage is left to pay
  • If your bungalow is freehold or leasehold

It may be possible to arrange a plan on a leasehold retirement bungalow. The criteria varies between lenders, but generally you need to have a minimum of 90–120 years left on your lease to be eligible.

If you think you might meet the criteria, you can check your eligibility and see how much you could unlock from your home.

If you have any questions about equity release, speak to our friendly selected advisers. They are specialists who can provide you with all the information you need to make the right decision for you. 

Call our friendly team today on 0808 178 3055 or request a free call back here.

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