It's certainly been quite a year. During three months of Lockdown 1 earlier in the year I had plenty of time to reflect on many aspects of life. It's just four years since I made my last house move and I have always thought I would be making another move at some point but have been putting it off for the past year or two.
In any event, one of the decisions I made during those periods of quiet contemplation during April/May was to make a move. When the Chancellor announced the stamp duty holiday in July, this was the trigger to start the ball rolling. So, I spent a few weeks making the place look a bit more presentable and put my property on the market following the lifting of restrictions and the opening of estate agents. Of course, there had been a great deal of pent-up demand and so lots of interest and viewings during the first week. I was lucky to get an offer at the asking price and so began my search for a suitable property.
For some time I have had the idea of finally retiring to a nice quiet bungalow. I started life in the 1950s in a modest wooden bungalow in South Yorkshire so maybe there is some need to return and complete the gestalt. Unfortunately in the area that I live they are not so common - mainly traditional Victorian terraced or pre-war semi-detached two storey houses so the few bungalows that occasionally come on to the market are quite expensive - particularly in the better, quieter locations. Luckily after a couple of weeks searching on Rightmove, I saw just the sort of property I wanted and after the first visit put in my offer which was accepted the next day.
I am ignoring the warning of 'bungalow legs' from my family but I guess it's surprising just how many times I am up and down the stairs in my house!
I was pleased to see property prices receiving a boost from all the demand built up during lockdown combined with the Chancellor's decision to suspend stamp duty which resulted in a boost to prices generally and my house suddenly being valued at 35% more than I bought it for in 2016. Of course, the property I want to purchase has no doubt gone up as well this year!
My investment portfolio has grown quite a fair bit over recent years - average returns of 9% each year has resulted in a doubling of its value over the past 8 years. Last year saw an above-average year with a 21% uplift and with a further 30% uplift since the meltdown in March so I have decided to sell down quite a large proportion of my ISA and put this towards a really nice final retirement property.
I have had a good run these past few years and I am thinking there may not be so much upside in the equity markets going forward - Covid, climate change, huge public debt etc. so a nice property may be a better bet and certainly there is very little incentive to remain in cash. But financials aside, it just makes sense to finally retire to a life of peace and quiet in the leafy suburbs.
The property is detached and hopefully nice and quiet which will be a contrast to my current house which is close to a busy main road. It has a garden which should be ideal for a return to growing my veggies - I may need a few tips from weenie - and also some space for a wildflower patch for the bees and butterflies. I also want to make the house carbon neutral and will be looking at the option of adding solar PV + battery storage...will give Enphase a call! So should be plenty to keep me occupied for the first couple of years!
It is very satisfying to reap some rewards from my lifetime habit of saving and the ability to generate a decent return from these savings to afford a really nice house. I have to thank my green investments such as Orsted, Vestas, ITM, McPhy and Tesla for providing a nice boost these past couple of years. I have aspergers (autism) and have experienced an increased sensitivity to noise as I get older so it will hopefully be much quieter in a detached house in a cul-de-sac away from the busy/vibrant area I am leaving behind.
I have been thinking of starting another (final) book so maybe in the new year this will be an opportunity to make a start as well as update some chapters of existing titles.
I may be offline for a week or so while the broadband service is transferred over to the new property so maybe no posts for a short while.
Fingers crossed all goes smoothly on the big day!
Update 24/11...I am pleased to report that all went well on the big day, just 3 hours from the removal van arriving to unloading at my new place and now all boxes unpacked and phone/broadband switch completed.