Many over-55s ‘reject traditional idea of downsizing into smaller property’

Forget downsizing in later life – a fifth of over-55s plan to move into a home which is the same size or larger, a survey has found.

Some 20% of those polled by Nationwide Building Society said their next step on the property ladder will be to a home of a similar size or bigger than their current one.

The findings suggest that some younger buyers looking for family-sized homes could find themselves competing for the same properties being targeted by older generations.

More than two-fifths (43%) of over-55s surveyed would like to stay where they are, perhaps because they have built up strong links with their local community and their home already suits their needs.

The need for space was the main reason for staying put, the survey of more than 2,000 people aged 55-plus found.

With members of the same family often living in different locations, many over-55s said they needed enough room to host visiting relatives.

Some also required space to store possessions or pursue hobbies.

But just over a third (36%) of over-55s would like to downsize to a smaller property in their later years.

More than half (56%) of those planning to downsize said a smaller house would be easier for them to manage.

But seven in 10 (73%) said they would stay in their current property if they could.

Jason Hurwood, director of home propositions at Nationwide, which offers a range of later life lending products, said: “The perception that all older people want to downsize to much smaller properties is outdated and cliched.

“As the research shows, people aged 55 and above are putting off the traditional downsizing house move, with space being very much in demand for a range of reasons – from entertaining friends and family to allowing them to keep and store valuable keepsakes and belongings.

“However, remaining in a larger property may have financial implications in later life, from mortgages to maintenance.

“With many retirees being property-rich and cash-poor, planning for the additional costs that may be needed is essential.”

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