~ by James Cobb, Director, Inspired Villages
Last week’s ground-breaking government move to stimulate the property industry – the stamp duty threshold has moved to £500,000 for all buyers completing on purchases before 31 March 2021 – has the potential to be a crucial tipping point for the future of the retirement villages industry. Depending on how our sector reacts, this stamp duty holiday could be a catalyst for accelerated industry growth.
Research by Inspired Villages partner Legal & General shows that among those last-time buyers open to downsizing, 32% said they would be more likely to do so if they benefitted from a reduction in stamp duty. As I’m sure our fellow operators have found, our best adverts are our residents; their testimonials carry the most weight when attracting further customers. This stamp duty holiday therefore provides a unique window to quickly widen the number of ambassadors for the benefits of living in a retirement community and therefore speed up our timeline for industry growth in this country.
To recap the numerous benefits for those perhaps new to the market – being part of a supportive network designed with the physical, mental, social and financial wellbeing of its residents in mind can help make those later years transformative and give people the retirement they aspire to. This has a positive knock-on effect on our country’s lack of housing issue as when people move into a retirement village they typically free up large family homes. Moreover, it significantly benefits our overburdened health and social care system because research shows living in a retirement village leads to a 46% decrease in the number of planned GP visits and a 31% decrease in hospital admissions.
To highlight the latter point further, the retirement industry has more than proved its worth during this COVID-19 pandemic. The industry wide statistics are incredibly reassuring that our model works. The UK’s average COVID-19 infection rate for over 70s is 8% - here at Inspired Villages our infection rate is 0.5%. The hard work of our dedicated village teams and the community effort from our residents means that we have only had a small handful of COVID-19 cases, all of which we understand were predominantly linked to unplanned hospital visits.
And, on top of this our teams on the ground went far beyond the call of duty to ensure our residents have continued to feel connected with each other and able to self-isolate without being isolated. We were so proud of the incredible response from our residents that we created a video made up of their words of thanks, which repeatedly confirmed that moving to an Inspired village was the best move they ever made.
So now, operators need to work in alignment to make the whole country aware of this and clearly show them that retirement villages are very different to care homes, particularly with a second lockdown at Christmas potentially looming. I have a huge respect for those who work so hard within the care home sector, and there is undoubtedly a place in society for them, but retirement villages are something different. What operators, like Inspired Villages, offer is a lifestyle that enables older people to live healthy, independent lives for longer. We are somewhere people aspire to spend their retirement, and somewhere that gives the children of our residents peace of mind their parents are being well supported.
We at Inspired Villages are therefore spreading the message by taking government’s announcement a step further and extended the stamp duty offer to any priced property within our villages, and will cover the costs of moving too – that’s the removal fees, legal fees, assisted sales fees and downsizing service fee. We are effectively making it even easier for people to move in and see what extraordinary homes, retirement villages make.
The time is right for residents to move, and for the industry to move further. Let’s spread the word together.
 Speak with our sales team if you have multiple properties, as special rules apply to stamp duty exemption if you own more than one property
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