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Demand for downsizing on the up but sellers ‘unrealistic’ on price

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Written by: Paloma Kubiak
10/08/2017
Two in five estate agents report a surge in inquiries from older homeowners looking to downsize to raise cash, but many are unrealistic about the price they can achieve from the sale.

Research from Key Partnerships revealed 44% of estate agents have seen a rise in downsizing inquiries over the past year. However their customers are struggling to find suitable homes.

In fact, 62% of estate agents are warning sellers they have unrealistic expectations about how much they will raise from moving to a cheaper home – if they can find one at all.

This is because 56% of agents said there is a shortage of homes on the market suitable for downsizers and 68% warn there are not enough homes available for older buyers who are less mobile.

As a result, 16% of prospective downsizers have given up or failed to find a new house in the past two years.

The research found that estate agents are increasingly suggesting lifetime mortgages as an alternative way to raise money for downsizers. Around 44% of estate agents said they regularly suggest equity release plans which enable customers to take out money while staying interest-free in their home.

Will Hale, director at Key Partnerships, said: “When downsizing works it can be an ideal solution for older homeowners but sellers need to be realistic about how much they are going to make and it appears many are struggling to find suitable homes.

“The shortage of homes for sale is pushing up prices for downsizers who may struggle to raise the sort of money they are expecting to help with retirement planning while also having to go through the upheaval of moving home.”

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