Whether it is retiring to the UK countryside, seaside towns or even an entirely new country, there are a number of factors that are worth considering when making your decision.
For many, affordability is the only decision they need to make. Which makes sense. Pension funds are not as strong as they were a few years ago as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic; it is believed that 35% of Generation X are planning on delaying their retirement (with this number increasing to 67% for Gen Z) in order to be in a better position when the time comes to making the move.
For others, retirement is less about relaxing and more about using the time to its maximum, visiting places and doing things on a bucket list for example. Proximity to major transport hubs, local shops and amenities or being able to explore the countryside is more important than anything.
Others may favour elements of living such as sustainability; they want to remain in a built up environment but is it possible to do so in a more environmentally friendly manner?
Ahead of retiring, you should use your time wisely to determine where would be the best destination for you and your future. Using Spring’s MoveSmart platform, you can do the research in the comfort of your home, finding out the necessary details such as broadband speed, average EPC ratings of an area, property market trends, how long it could take to complete a sale…
Today, we want to take a look at some of the most common destinations for retirees and see where in the UK is the best area to retire to.
On England’s South coast and with over 30% of residents aged 65 and over, Dorset has remained a favourite retirement destination for a number of years now. Along with Devon, part of Dorset’s appeal comes from being able to provide great proximity to the seaside in places like Weymouth, tranquil countryside surroundings in Ashmore while also providing the village-like atmosphere of areas such as Charminster.
Dorset has a wide range of areas to move to and, depending on where you are coming from, you are likely to end up with a very useful profit from your house sale; the average price for a home in Dorchester, for example, is just under half as much as it is in London (the average property price ranges from £200,000 to £400,000 across the whole of Dorset).
There is also a big movement towards making Dorset as sustainable and eco-friendly as possible. Charging stations for electric cars, locally sourced food and beverages as well as a number of initiatives based around reducing plastic usage; Dorset is making concerted efforts to reduce carbon emissions and take a step closer to being one of the most eco-friendly areas in the country. The work thus far has helped the average EPC rating (Energy Performance Certificate) remain better than the UK average for quite some time.
If what you are looking for is just a way to spend your time now you have it to yourself, there may be few places more suitable than Dorset. Golf courses, beautiful seaside views of the English Channel and with the same amenities you may have been used to in busier parts of the country, Dorset could be your perfect destination.
Just from looking at postcards of Cumbria and some of its most notable components such as the Lake District National Park, Penrith or the coastal town of St Bees, it is clear to see why Cumbria is one of the most popular destinations for retirement.
The average property price for the area is just £210,000 but outside of this, the views that you would wake up to every day are simply outstanding. If you were considering putting off retirement in order to save further, retiring to Cumbria could be a dream come true.
In spite of the growing popularity, living in Cumbria may not be suitable for everyone. Although retirement is about living on your own terms, you do not want to completely limit any chance of seeing your children and grandchildren. Retiring to Cumbria may make visits from those based in London, Essex or even Leeds more difficult to organise. With the Lake District National Park taking up vast areas of Cumbria, transport can be tricky to navigate at the best of times. With London to Carlisle (Cumbria’s busiest rail station) taking anywhere from 3 to 4 hours by train, even areas such as Leeds - despite being 200 miles closer - is still a challenging route to manage.
It is certainly a mixed bag. On the one hand, Cumbria can provide retirees with a larger pot from their pension due to the lower average cost of property and cost of living, not to mention the low crime rate, all set within the beautiful sprawling countryside of the Lake District. But it comes with the compromise of being in a very remote area of the country and with an energy efficiency rating below the national average.
From the outside, there are a number of areas of Yorkshire that share many of the positives that Cumbria has to offer but with added benefits of greater transport amenities.
The quaint village atmosphere of York, for example, combines both rural living, high street shopping all amongst a historic backdrop with landmarks dating back as far as the 1300s. All of this is coupled with excellent transport links to London, Newcastle, Birmingham and Leeds which means family are never more than a short train ride away.
Areas such as Skipton or Harrogate are also growing in popularity amongst retirees due to the low crime rate, house prices and overall quality of life. Skipton, for example, has fast become a hotbed for retirees due to these many benefits; as of 2020, it is believed that over 24% of Skipton residents are aged 65 and over. By retiring to Skipton, you place yourself amongst the heart of Yorkshire’s historic market community, with Skipton market dating back to medieval times.
The average price for property in Skipton can be anywhere between £200,000 and £400,000. With the higher end of this range still markedly lower than your average price for a detached home in London, selling your home and relocating to Yorkshire would mean you could retire sooner than anticipated.
Although the South-East may conjure memories of holidays from the past, strolling along the pier at Margate with your fish and chips wrapped in a newspaper, the reality is that retiring to the childhood favourite such as Kent and the South-East may not be as great as you would think.
The first statistic that stands out when looking at retiring in Kent is that the price of property is very high. It is not quite London prices but in some areas, houses regularly sell for in excess of £600,000. Sevenoaks, for example, has an average price of £490,000 but this is by no means the maximum you could pay. Frustratingly, Sevenoaks is an almost ideal location to retire to due to the transport links, local amenities and quiet village atmosphere. It is held back almost entirely by how expensive it can be.
Generally, the South-East of the UK is not a bad place to retire to, provided you have the means and have been smart with your pension. On average, EPC ratings for Kent are on the higher side, with most homes receiving an A or B grade and life expectancy is slightly greater than the national average, at 84 for women and 80 for men. There are a number of pros for retiring to Kent - the nostalgia element potentially being first on the list - but the main con - overall cost of living - is more than likely the most important one to factor into your plans.
For more information regarding properties in Kent, Cumbria, Yorkshire, Dorset or anywhere else up and down the country, you can use our MoveSmart tool to examine a more detailed analysis.