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Government plans incentives for downsizing

Written by: Christina Hoghton
The government intends to offer older homeowners sweeteners to move out of their family home, it has been reported.

There have been reports the government plans to use incentives to encourage downsizing in retirement, including a Stamp Duty exemption, or help with moving costs, for those selling a large family home and buying an ‘age-appropriate’ property.

Communities Secretary Sajid Javid is expected to set out plans for the incentives in the housing White Paper due later this month.

Saga’s director of communications, Paul Green, welcomed the idea: “If the government can bring in measures to enable people to ‘rightsize’ in retirement this would be a true inter-generational solution to the housing crisis and would deliver on Mrs May’s promise of helping young and old alike.

“People should be free to choose how and where they live. However, there are many people who want to downsize but are put off because of the cost.  Saga has been lobbying successive governments for a Stamp Duty exemption for downsizing and buying age-appropriate homes.

“This would be a triple win for Britain and for inter-generational fairness.”

Independent economists estimated that a Stamp Duty exemption for downsizers would prompt an extra 111,000 family homes to come onto the market as well as requiring the building of homes suited to older generations. It could also boost the government coffers due to an estimated £500m in Stamp Duty from consequential house moves.

Demand for downsizing

Saga research shows that seven in 10 over 50s would like to move in retirement to smaller homes or age-related developments, but there are not enough appropriate properties. Only 1% of Britons live in retirement developments, compared with 17% in the US and 13% in Australia.

There are 3.4 million households aged over 65 who could potentially downsize, according to Saga – 1.1 million have one spare bedroom and 2.3 million have two or more spare bedrooms.

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