What do downsizers, a growing force in the housing market, want? Check out this two-minute read to find out.
Downsizers are emerging as increasingly influential players in the property market, with a growing number of over-55s selling up and buying less expensive properties.
Last year, 181,000 people downsized* – the highest number in five years (source: Hamptons, 2021).
Why downsizers are important
Downsizers help keep the property market ticking over as they tend to free up bigger family homes. Given the shortage of good quality housing stock, this is good news for first-time buyers and families looking for more room.
Why do people downsize?
Free up equity – Often, people downsize to fund their retirement or help their children get on the property ladder. The Hamptons study found that, on average, downsizers were £256,800 better off after making their move – so there’s probably also spare change for a cruise or swanky holiday.
Reduce maintenance – As we get older, looking after a large property can be a real burden. Downsizing means fewer cleaning, gardening and general maintenance chores.
Lower heating bills – With energy prices skyrocketing, paying to heat a large and predominantly empty home makes no sense.
Mortgage-free – Many downsizers want to work less or retire and hence want to be done with mortgage repayments.
Family ties – Many downsizers want to live near to children and grandchildren.
What downsizers want
There are always exceptions to the rule, but downsizers tend to want:
Low-maintenance garden – Rickety fences, leaky sheds and large swathes of lawn that need mowing are likely to be turn-offs.
Little or no DIY – Downsizers are often reluctant to carry out major refurbishments, so doer-uppers are a no-no.
Good storage – If you’ve lived in a spacious home for years, you’re bound to have amassed many possessions. Even after a ruthless declutter, you’re still likely to have beloved objects with which you can’t bear to part.
Proximity to amenities – They may want a quieter pace of life, but many downsizers still desire access to shops, leisure facilities and public transport.
*Downsizer definition: someone who purchases a property that is at least 20% cheaper than their previous property and has at least two fewer bedrooms.
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