Downsizers struggling to find suitable homes

New research shows that downsizers are having to reconsider making the move due to a lack of suitable homes and uncertainty around the financial benefits. 

According to Key Retirement, almost a third (30%) of homeowners over the age of 65 are thinking about downsizing during the next five years, in a bid to find a home more suited to retirement.

At 58%, the North East was home to the highest proportion of those looking to move during retirement, with the South West in second place at 44%. However, whilst this percentage are looking to downsize, the research shows that they are having trouble doing so.

It found that over 620,000 homeowners aged 65 or over were struggling to find a suitable home in their local area, whilst a further 500,000 said that although they had thought about downsizing, it would not necessarily mean they’d be financially better off.

Whilst being able to move to a smaller property can boost income in retirement, downsizing also comes with practical benefits, particularly when the new property is more manageable. As such, the barriers which over 65’s are facing when it comes to finding a suitable home is concerning; over half (53%) said that keeping on top of DIY tasks around their current home was a struggle, with 27% stating that being able to afford maintenance on their property was becoming a challenge. Almost one in five (17%) said that their current property had simply become too big for their needs.

Commenting on the results of the study was Dean Mirfin. The Chef Product Officer at Key Retirement said: “Downsizing should make financial sense for older homeowners as it releases money to pay for retirement and it also should make sense for the property market as a whole as it frees up bigger houses.

“But despite the numbers of older homeowners wanting to downsize it is clear they face problems in finding suitable homes for retirement and for many the finances just don’t add up. Unfortunately, that leaves them struggling to maintain homes, and in many cases, struggling financially.

“Pensioners are sitting on property wealth of more than £1 trillion which could significantly improve their standard of living in retirement and helping them make the best use of that money would boost their finances and the economy as a whole.”

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