Downsizing Within the Development: Family Ties Keep it Local

Figures released by the Office for National Statistics show that the number of houses owned without a mortgage in England has increased to 8.8 million, with 500,000 more properties owned outright in 2020[1].  One of these mortgage-free homeowners is Warfield resident Christine Healy (70), who has just downsized to her second property at Berkeley’s Woodhurst Park development in Warfield. Without a hefty mortgage to pay off, Christine was able to pass on her good fortune to her daughter and her husband Sian and Mike, who purchased Christine’s former four-bedroom home at the development. 

For Sian, this ended her long search for a property in Berkshire, where figures show there are now over 29 buyers per property[2] in today’s competitive market of dwindling supply. Using the proceeds from the sale, Christine relocated just a short walk down the road to a three-bedroom detached home, still within Woodhurst Park. She explains: “The decision to downsize was not an easy one. I was really torn between leaving my home which I loved, and helping my daughter buy in the local area. It felt like fate when the opportunity to buy a smaller home on a later phase at Woodhurst Park came up, especially as it meant both my daughters are living on the same development.” 

Christine’s daughter is now the third member of their family to purchase at Woodhurst Park, following in her mum and sister’s footsteps. Living nearby to each other provides plenty of opportunities for the family to stay connected, and staying within the development means Christine can remain fully involved in the life of her grandson who has lived in the development for several years. Christine comments: “It’s great to have my family right on my doorstep within the same community, especially as I can easily pop round for a visit with no extra effort on my part.” 

The value of housing stock held by mortgage-free homeowners has risen by 93% in the past decade, and it now sits at £3.27 trillion[3].  As one of these homeowners Christine recognises how fortunate she was to have the opportunity to aide her daughter and have the additional benefit of downsizing. She adds: “My three-storey house was lovely and spacious, but it wasn’t until I moved into my current home that I realised how much I didn’t need all that space! I had a first floor living room which was just gathering dust. My new house fits me perfectly, and funnily enough has a bigger garden, so I hope to expand my gardening skills.

Ben Ivey, Sales and Marketing Director for Berkeley Homes, comments: “We are seeing an increasing number of buyers who have bought during the early phases at Woodhurst Park relocating within the development. Ties to families and friends, along with Woodhurst Park’s thriving community are strong motivators for our buyers to stay here, while our variety of two to five-bedroom homes cater to the changing needs of all different family sizes. Watching families grow here, creating a tight-knit, friendly and heartening atmosphere, makes Woodhurst Park an incredibly special place to be – easily one of Berkshire’s most sought-after communities.

Originally from Bracknell, Christine watched the community at Woodhurst Park grow ever since she identified it as a potential home to return to several years ago. Sitting beside 65-acres of parkland, the development has a large greenway, orchard park, children’s play area, duck pond, idyllic riverside trails and even a thatched cottage that add to its charming village appeal for all ages. Already over 560 homes have been moved into since 2015, many of them in a distinctive red brick with Edwardian influences. 

Christine adds: “I love the layout of the development - the differing styles of houses complement the diverse landscape that makes it anything but boring to live here. From the very first day, Woodhurst Park has felt established and well-managed, even down to the tiny little details such as the planting - it’s a lovely place for walking my dog, Daisy, too.”

Woodhurst Park’s blend of countryside living with the convenience of being nearby to Bracknell was another advantage for Christine, who often visits Bracknell Leisure Centre and South Hill Park Arts Centre in her spare time. Bracknell town centre, just 1.4 miles from Warfield, recently underwent a £750m upgrade which included The Lexicon centre, pulling in keen shoppers from across Berkshire and Buckinghamshire.

The development is ideally located for commuters, close to both the M3 and M4, with Heathrow and Gatwick 30 and 50 minutes away respectively. Nearby Maidenhead’s fast train service on the Crossrail line gets you to London Paddington in 16 minutes, whilst Bracknell Station will get you to Waterloo within the hour.