Inevitably there will always be some expatriates who wish to return to their roots; we all know of friends and neighbours who have returned to the UK or Eire. They do so for a combination of reasons. It could be financial, they are often for family reasons but interwoven through the fabric of melancholy is the pull of one’s homeland.
One of the lines of the nostalgic We’ll Keep a Welcome song of Wales has the immortal words; We’ll Kiss Away Each Hour of Hiraeth (homesickness). Whoever penned those poignant words knew the heartache of missing one’s country.
Some return reluctantly and would undoubtedly have remained in Spain had it not been for the ravages of the recession. Others are filled with the same optimism and enthusiasm as they enjoyed when heading south. Andrew Tucker, general manager of a residential park in Lincolnshire says, “We are seeing expatriates heading home from Spain in particular, but also from Greece and Cyprus.”
THE ACTIVELY RETIRED
Residential park homes are increasingly popular inasmuch as they tick more boxes than do conventional homes. In effect they are bespoke and situated in semi-rural leafy locations which cater for the actively retired. Competitively priced they offer a relaxed and sociable lifestyle not very much different from expatriate communities dotted along Spain’s Mediterranean coasts.
Jon Boston of the British Holiday and Home Parks Association has business dealings with over 800 residential parks spread across the UK. He says there has been an increase in enquiries and sales, many from people living overseas and who are now finding it difficult to make ends meet.
“Residential parks give returning expatriates a soft landing. Anyone returning from France or Spain with £150,000 from the sale of their continental home won’t get much in terms of bricks and mortar,” he says. “It will get you a nice three-bed detached home with garden in a residential park,” he adds.
Residential park homes start at £50,000 and can reach £250,000 but compared to conventional housing many hold that they offer better value for money. They are ideal for those who are independent of mortgage requirements and if there’s change left over then this surplus helps to cushion a pension.
A typical cost will lie between £100,000 for a two-bedroom chalet to £150,000 for higher specification homes, often described as lodges. They are said to hold their value better but rise with the market when values are on the up.
The aim is to create an environment particularly attractive for those who wish to stay in their home permanently rather than use it as a holiday home investment. Though such homes are not freehold they do offer great security of tenure; an absolute right to lifetime occupation enhanced by ground rent and maintenance fees. Many have age restrictions but are flexible for those over fifty years of age.