Lack Of Available Small Homes Deters Downsizers From Moving

A lack of available housing continues to plague the property market, with potential downsizers being deprived of appropriate property which could influence them in making the move into a smaller home.

According to a recent report by retirement experts, Responsible Life, 66.7% of areas across the UK have substantially more four-bedroom accommodation than two-bedroom homes, which is the preferred choice of property for those looking to downsize. Currently, there are almost a quarter (23.7%) more four-bedroom properties than two-bedroom accommodation available to buy.

One in six areas of the UK reported that larger properties, were more than double the number of properties that would be perfect for downsizers.

The fact that two-bedroom accommodation is already fiercely fought over by first-time buyers and second-steppers is already making this under-stocked area of the market extremely competitive and potentially too difficult for older buyers to enter the fray.

According to the TwentyCi & Property ‘Homemover Report 2019‘, the 430,000 new listings entering the market in the opening quarter of this year represents a 5.3% drop on 2018’s opening quarter. When housing stock is limited, fewer people, especially downsizers that may not be in any immediate rush to compromise on their final property choice, will choose to move.

Despite this reducing stock, older buyers are increasing their activity in the housing market. According to a recent report by the Intermediary Lenders Association, the final migration of downsizers has doubled in the past ten years at a pace of over 200,000 housing transactions per year.

As the population ages and the amount of people over the age of 55 increase, it is estimated that more of this key demographic will decide to move. Currently, 2.5% of the 8 million over 55s in England decide to make a final move.

The report has also found that whilst the annual number of LTB sales is only 2.5% of the total transactions, 47%, or 4 million households, of home owners plan to downsize in the future.

However, despite the financial clout that this section of the housing market commands, they are still restricted to the same constraints as all other potential buyers: reduced housing stock and a lack of suitable options impede more buyers from leaving their forever homes.

Steve Wilkie, Managing Director of Responsible Life, commented:

“Retirees consider downsizing to be one of the easiest ways to release some cash in retirement, but many are confronted by a crippling lack of options.

“Across the country, there are significantly fewer smaller houses for sale and they are being fought over by three groups of people; downsizers, first time buyers and those moving up the ladder.

“This lack of supply feeds into prices and unfortunately for many it’s just not worth downsizing once the cost of moving and stamp duty are taken into account.”

Have downsizers or last-time buyers emphasised a struggle in finding appropriate property? Would the increase in downsizing improve the housing stock for established families? 

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