Brits aged over 55 own £1 trillion in property but can’t find anywhere to downsize

30 April 2018

Almost two in five (39%) homeowners in the UK are considering downsizing, with so-called last-time buyers looking to make a final move now owning almost £1 trillion in housing wealth. 

Figures from financial services group Legal & General show the number of homeowners mooting a downsize has risen from 32% since 2015 as options for older borrowers improve. 

L&G says further incentives such as removing stamp duty on later life properties would encourage more last-time buyers to move, freeing up much-needed housing stock. 

Just 7,000 age-specific properties were delivered last year, making it the most under-supplied area of the housing market.

Some 49% of those surveyed by L&G say the reason they haven’t downsized is because they are no suitable properties available. A further 29% say suitable properties are too expensive. 

Phil Bayliss, head of later living at Legal & General, says: “If people were able to move to a property more aligned to their desired lifestyle and needs, vast swathes of homes would be freed up for growing families and second-steppers.

“Increasing the number of properties available to these buyers is the most efficient way to help solve the UK’s housing crisis.” 

Last-time buyers say their ideal age to downsize is between 65 and 69. Some 13% say they will downsize to free up money for their retirement. But the proportion of homeowners struggling to find a suitable home to downsize to has doubled to 49% over the past three years. 

Paula Higgins, chief executive at HomeOwners Alliance, says: “The problem is clear – older buyers simply have nowhere to move to. We need to not only look at the number of homes being built but whether they are the right type of homes, in the right places, with the right infrastructure and facilities.” 


In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Totally agree with the article.1. There are not enough smaller properties like bungalows available. Plus those that are on the market are way overpriced and in poor condition.2. Then there is the stamp duty and the cost of moving.3. We have decorated and refurbished our home to the standard we love and the thought and associated costs of having to do it all again is horrifying.4. I like having a spare room for guests and a spare room dedicated to just my hobbies and business.

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Tax breaks on house transactions just put up house prices. Also, this whole discussion is risky in my view. In the current political atmosphere, young people are encouraged by Cornyn politics to feel entitled to things and older people are seen as privileged and wealthy folk whose money should be redirected to the young. This idea is an absurd caricature of the real situation but it is sadly gaining currency.Young people do Have a rough time these days but so do many older people.In this context there is a risk that in time, pressure could build up for policies that encourage older folk to downsize to become taxes and penalties to try to force then to downsize, in this authoritarian coercive world that the UK is becoming.

Add new comment