Older Brits 'trapped' in outsized homes

Severe shortage of smaller ‘last time buyer’ homes in the UK, report finds

Updated: 
Senior Couple In Room Looking at Moving Boxes on Floor

Millions of over 55s are stuck in properties that are far bigger than they need due to a severe shortage of suitable smaller homes.

Research from Legal & General found that one in three older homeowners want to downsize, yet only 7% are able to do so, leaving 7.7 million spare bedrooms empty.

L&G CEO Nigel Wilson said 'last time buyers' (LTBs) were often overlooked in the market, despite the fact they could play a key part in easing the UK housing crisis.

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"Helping young people to get onto the housing ladder through initiatives like Help to Buy 2 is important, but enabling older people to realise their downsizing dreams could have a far greater impact in terms of unlocking family housing stock for people to buy."

"It's an appalling truth that millions of English last time buyers want to downsize into a two-bedroom property at the same time as Shelter are reporting that one in four children in London live in overcrowded homes."

The typical LTB lives in a four-bed house and would like to downsize to a two-bed property, according to L&G.

The most common reason for considering downsizing by over 55s is that their property no longer meets their needs.

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"Many older homeowners allow inertia to keep them in their current home which is no longer fit for purpose and which is expensive to maintain, the report claims.

"This is a particular issue for older homeowners, many of whom don't work.

"Many of the over 55s – and 63% of those with at least two spare bedrooms – do intend to move, but all too often, they leave it late. More than half believe that it will be best to wait until they are over 70 before moving, and a quarter will wait until 80."

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