The ageing process is no respecter of economic cycles and consequently our retirement villages’ product has proved to be relatively resilient compared to open market housing in the credit crunch. For our customers, the decision to move is partly aspirational and partly needs driven. Our purchasers are typically downsizing and releasing substantial equity from the sale of their property which is usually unmortgaged. They are therefore better able to cope with any marginal fall in values than people further down the property ladder.
As the market began to soften in late 2007 early 2008, we were almost untouched by the woes of the volume house builders. It was only when the squeeze on mortgage finance had worked its way through the system that our purchasers found themselves unable to complete on the sale of their own homes. We found that we continued to agree sales but our buyers were not in a position to move on to completion.
For a few months post the collapse of Lehman Bros, the market seemed to be in shock and site traffic and sales slowed dramatically. Happily, since the beginning of 2009 we have seen increased levels of activity (visits to our website reached an all time high peaking at 7500 in the month of March). We completed more sales in March than in the preceding 2-3 months and we are forecasting sales for our new financial year (April 2009 – March 2010) 50% higher than in the previous financial year.