3.5 million over 55s looking to downsize

One in three home owners over 55 are are considering or expect to consider downsizing in the near future according to a report by the Internatinoal Longevity Centre titled “Generation Stuck.”

29.3% of those who downsize expect to release more than £100,000 with a third of those who do either putting it into savings or towards their pension.

However the report states that many are stuck in their current properties due to low availability of retirement properties: just 1% of over 60s have moved into retirement properties compared with 17% in the US and 13% in Australia and New Zealand.

The report says: “There is a general recognition that the UK housing market overall is currently characterised by inadequate supply, in which the issues of affordability, suitability, and quantity all feature. In addition, the creation of specialist retirement housing opportunities, which are one form of ageappropriate housing, lags behind existing (and growing) demand.

“As arises throughout the discussions on the factors mentioned above, the suitability of available housing opportunities – how well a potential new home fits with a household’s desires – plays a crucial role in affecting how many households in later life will choose to downsize.

“In many ways, the question around housing in later life should emphasise the opportunities for people to align their living situation with a property that best suits their needs and aspirations; the case is not as simple as just needing fewer rooms. In this way, perhaps thinking about ‘rightsizing’ is better than ‘downsizing’. In addition, the representation that under-occupancy by older households is the primary culprit for the housing woes of younger generations also distorts and distracts the debate from
developing effective solutions and innovations to improve such opportunities across the board.

“Our report has identified that there is substantial demand amongst older households to consider downsizing or ‘rightsizing’, which could even have an important impact in addressing continuing challenges in the UK housing market. But it is clear that there remains an inadequate supply of the kinds of properties that would serve older households. Without suitable properties into which older households
can move and downsize, the potential for increasing the trend in this area is unrealistic.

“Yet examples do already exist, and retirement housing opportunities can do a great deal toward meeting existing demand in an optimal way.”

The full report can be found at ilcuk.org.uk

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