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Article excerpt

Byline: David Spittles

HOMEBUYING downsizers are being offered special treatment by housebuilders.

The "not-old, not-young" generation of active over-55s, who seem to have buying power in today's depressed market, are not being dragged down by big mortgages and are more able to move. Many downsizers who sell a big family house pay cash for their smaller new property and have money in the bank to finance a more leisurely lifestyle.

Demographic trends confirm inexorable growth in the number of older but healthy and aspirational homebuyers who want to live in fashionable, highquality developments with concierge services and/or country-club amenities. This market is a planet away from the mainstream retirement homes sector, characterised by soulless, budgetpriced, boxy housing.

Niche developer Beechcroft has successfully tapped the select end of the over-55s market by building luxury homes in prestige South-East locations. Often apartments are carved out of ' Older and to live in listed mansions and other heritage properties set in landscaped grounds, with estate management and discreet security as part of the package.

Many are lock-up-and-leave homes owned by people who spend several months of the year abroad.

Douces Manor is a listed 18th century estate near the pretty Kent village of West Malling. A former convalescent home, hotel and offices, Beechcroft has created six elegant apartments in the original house, while 18 courtyard homes have been built using bricks reclaimed from outbuildings on the 12-acre site. Prices start at [pounds sterling]595,000. For more information, call 01732 873078. …


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