Shortage of homes for last-time buyers

22 June 2018

More than 1.45 million over-65s wants to downsize but either cannot find the right property or one that makes sound financial sense.

According to the research from Key Retirement, nearly one in three (30%) homeowners aged 65 or over would like to move one last time, with homeowners in the North East and South West most likely consider moving.

However, the process of moving has not proved straightforward. Some 620,000 homeowners have tried to downsize but have not been able to find the right property in the right area, while 500,000 would like to move but do not think they will be able to make it work financially.

This is putting a strain on older homeowners. More than half (53%) say that they are struggling to maintain their current home, while 27% are finding it difficult to pay for its upkeep.

The research also found that 42% worry about the cost of bills and that 17% say their current home is simply too big.

Commenting on the research, Dean Mirfin, chief product officer at Key Retirement, says: 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.

He adds: “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.”


In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

I agree completely with Penny Smith. In our area there are no smaller houses or bungalows as convenient as our current 5 bedroom house, which is in walking distance of both the town and railway station , and on a bus route. We would love to move to a smaller place with a small garden about the same distance (or closer) to town but they are not there or just don't seem to come on the market. A three bed semi would be ideal but can we find one suitable???

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

People - including the writer of this article seem to confuse downsizing with releasing capital.One of my Neighbours friends moved 200m down the road from a large 3 bed detached house to a small 2 bed detached bungalow.By the time she had paid stamp duty, estate agents fees etc I doubt if she released any equity, but she is now in a property more suited to her needs.More recently two of my neighbours have moved from their bungalows to new build retirement flats where there are no unexpected maintenance tasks or bills.All of these stories illustrate why I think equity release is such a bad idea.It is rather ironic that in 2011 I bought a detached bungalow because I couldn't afford a detached house. That is Christchurch (near Bournemouth) for you.

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

I would love to move into a smaller property but do not want to be in a small bungalow built in the back of the garden of another property, or be at the end of a cul de sac, nor do I want to pay an absolute fortune to live in a McCarthy and Stone property. I value my indepence, love my garden and dog, just want a suitable choice in an appropriate location that is priced accordingly without breaking the bank

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