Vive les silver sunseekers


“ACTIVE LIVING resorts in France for the over-50s provide the answer to UK housing shortage” – now there’s lateral thinking for you. It’s a headline from Knight Frank’s Retirement Housing Report 2010, which says those entering the “third age” form the fastest growing demographic group in Britain.

It adds that there’s no proper provision for housing this generation, and moves quickly to say that “active living resorts” could be the best option for lively oldies. The report then cuts to the chase with a plug for The Villages Group, which has homes for over-50s in Bordeaux/Perigord, Canal du Midi and Provence.

These offer one-level eco-friendly homes “within outstanding natural environments with full on-site amenities including tennis courts, indoor pool, gymnasium and quality entertainment programmes”.

Villages’ MD Danny Silver says that France tops a quality-of-life index, with Britain just ninth, and expects that since baby boomers are among the wealthiest people in Britain they’ll vote with their feet to move where they can to live la vie en rose.

It’s not so long since many Irish 50-somethings – lively or not – had the same idea, flocking to the south of France to snap up properties with dreams of retiring to the sun. Sadly, many of these silver sunseekers are now staying lively looking for buyers for their boltholes – and will probably have to keep fit working in the sunset years.