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More than a million last-time buyers struggle to downsize

Paloma Kubiak
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Paloma Kubiak

Last-time buyers are struggling to find homes to move to, as the potential financial gains from downsizing aren’t high enough and they can’t find suitable properties in the local area, analysis suggests.

More than 1.4 million over-65s are considering downsizing in the next five years to a more suitable home for retirement.

The numbers looking to move home in retirement are as high as 58% in the North East and 44% in the South West.

Across the country more than 620,000 homeowners aged 65 and over said they’ve looked into downsizing but can’t find a suitable home in their area.

Another half a million said they’ve considered moving but would not be much better off financially, according to research from over-55s financial specialist, Key Retirement.

Not being able to move in retirement is a major concern, as more than half of over-65s said keeping up with DIY jobs around the house is physically tough. On the other hand, 27% said they struggle to afford maintenance on their homes.

Just over two out of five older homeowners have worries about bills and the need for repairs on their home and nearly one in five said their house is just too big for their needs.

‘Finances don’t add up’

Dean Mirfin, chief product officer at Key Retirement, said: “Downsizing should make financial sense for older homeowners as it releases money to pay for retirement and it also should make sense for the property market as a whole as it frees up bigger houses.

“But despite the numbers of older homeowners wanting to downsize, it is clear they face problems in finding suitable homes for retirement and for many the finances just don’t add up. Unfortunately, that leaves them struggling to maintain homes, and in many cases, struggling financially.

“Pensioners are sitting on property wealth of more than £1trn which could significantly improve their standard of living in retirement and help them make the best use of that money would boost their finances and the economy as a whole.”