Once their offspring have left home, parents can often find the family house is too big for their needs and expensive to maintain. That’s why, as retirement approaches, many people think about downsizing, and moving to a smaller, easier-to-manage home that’s cheaper to run.
However, it seems that suitable properties might not be that easy to find due to a shortage of retirement homes. The think tank Demos2 has estimated that the UK has a shortfall of around 22,800 new retirement properties, homes that are needed just to meet current demand. With an ageing population, this figure is likely to rise steeply over the coming years.
If older people can’t find suitable smaller properties to move into, then their larger family homes aren’t freed up to meet the demand from younger families looking for the extra space they need to grow. A shortage of smaller properties, in particular bungalows, means that prices continue to remain high.
The research shows that around three million people aged over 60 would be interested in purchasing retirement properties. At present, many new housing developments are concentrated on providing 3, 4 and 5-bedroom homes, and in some parts of the country there are double the number of 4-bedroom properties on the market compared to two-bed homes.
Research from around the UK3 shows that in Cambridge and Rugby there were three four-bed homes available for every two-bed property. However, in St Helens, Hull and Sunderland two-bed properties outnumbered four-beds.
There’s a lot to think about when you’re considering downsizing. If you’re looking to raise cash by making your move, you need to do your sums carefully to ensure that it would be worthwhile after taking into consideration all the various costs involved.
3Responsible Life, 2019