Why a motorhome could be the key to a fulfilling retirement

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Million Pound Motorhomes: Expert offers tour inside vehicle

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Motorhomes, campervans and van conversions offer an alternative way of living for all age-groups, and since the start of the pandemic, it’s a lifestyle that has become increasingly popular among Brits. With the festive season in full swing, the increasing cost of living in the UK has come into stark focus as changes to state pensions and stagnant wages plague the nation – but how could a retirement on the road be the answer? Express.co.uk spoke to the motorhome and finance experts to find out.

How has the housing market affected pensioners?

The property market has exceeded expectations over the past 18 months with soaring house prices and unwavering demand for large properties driving the UK’s housing industry.

As the market continues to thrive, pension-age Brits could be sitting on a small fortune when it comes to selling their homes as household wealth and pension values continue to climb despite the economy contracting, said the Financial Times.

With nearly two in three households that own a property outright being pensioners, there is no better time for retirement-age homeowners to sell up and downsize.

Speaking exclusively to Express.co.uk, Paula Purdy, head of intermediary relations at Together – the specialist lender said: “Motorhomes are steadily becoming an option for older homeowners wanting to sell up and hit the open road, with less overheads and the freedom to travel in the UK and abroad – there are lots of reasons as to why this age group is considering motorhomes as alternative properties.”

Are motorhomes becoming more popular?

The rise of staycations and a new-found appreciation for the great outdoors are just two of the positives that have come from multiple coronavirus lockdowns, and it has certainly been reflected by motorhome sale trends.

Speaking exclusively to Express.co.uk, Steven Hagenah, UK Country Lead for PaulCamper said: “Over the past 12 months campervan interest has boomed due to the pandemic and rise of staycations and remote working.

“Searches for ‘pre-loved used motorhomes for sale near me’ have risen by 680 percent in the past 12 months and ‘second hand campervans’ by 665 percent.”

With triple lock pension freezes making early retirement an unaffordable option, many more state pension age (66 years old) Brits are being forced to continue working to keep up with rising living costs.

How much does it cost to live in a motorhome full time?

While buying a motorhome or converting a van requires a large outright payment, the long-term savings are what makes mobile-living so financially appealing.

Steven explained: “An analysis of government spending data shows that a typical pensioner spends £227.50 – or £11,830 a year – on basics such as food, clothes and utility bills, while leaving some spare cash for entertainment, leaving little for emergencies such as replacing broken appliances, boiler repairs, weather damage and so on.

Plus, with rising energy costs and potential pension cuts, life is only going to get tighter.”

“Swapping this lifestyle for a van life in a camper could save just under £7,000 in expenses per year, based on UK Vanlife’s monthly expense of £410 per month; just £4920 per year. This is probably slightly higher now due to inflation and fuel prices rising, but still a way off the expenses of a house.”

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Reduced costs is not the only benefit of living out your retirement on the road, said Steven, adding: “It is also a fantastic way for people to make the most of their retirement and explore the great outdoors.

“If the pandemic has taught us anything it is that we need to make the most of every day and living life on the road is a fantastic way to do this.”

How to finance a motorhome for your retirement

Financing the outright purchase of a motorhome while still living in a traditional property can seem daunting, but Paula Purdy, head of intermediary relations at Together – the specialist lender, explains that there are two options:

  1. Use the money from a property sale to cover the full cost of the home
  2. Get a secured loan if you are planning to keep your property

She said: “Provided you have sufficient equity in your home (or any other property you own, for that matter), you can get a secured loan that covers the full cost of the motorhome.

“You won’t have to put down a deposit, and you’ll own the motorhome outright from day one – so you’ll be able to act as a ‘cash’ buyer, which could help you negotiate a better price with your motorhome dealer.”

Key features of a secured loan include:

  • The loan is secured against your home or property
  • It is paid with monthly payments for the agreed term
  • Payments can be up to 30 years
  • Repayments can change throughout the loan (similar to a mortgage)

Paula added: “A secured loan buys you a degree of flexibility and freedom.
“For instance, if you learn that the motorhome lifestyle doesn’t suit you after a while, you could sell the motorhome and buy a static caravan or canal boat with the cash instead.”

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