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Over half of downsizers planning to move but housing stock still a major barrier

Nick Cheek
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Nick Cheek

Downsizers and empty nesters are some of the “most committed buyers in the market” as over half are planning to move in the next one to two years, but suitable stock is a barrier.

According to Savills survey of around 2,000 buyers and sellers, when asked about motivation behind moving, almost 48% plan to “right size” and live in a more manageable property and around a quarter are planning a lifestyle change.

Around one in five of downsizers and empty nesters planned to release equity to fund retirement or to help family members.

The research continued that 51% of downsizers have owned their home for over 20 years and three quarters have owned their own home for over 10 years.

Savills said that owner-occupiers aged 65-plus hold an estimated £2.587 trillion of net housing wealth in homes worth a total of £2.735 trillion.

Around £2.038 trillion is held by mortgage-free homeowners, which is an increase of £1.11 trillion over the past decade, the estate agent had said.

Emotional attachments hold back downsizers

Frances McDonald, director of research at Savills, said: “Those looking to downsize or move on from long-term family homes are in a strong position in today’s market, many having benefitted from the strong house price growth of the past 20 years.

“Many in this cohort are likely to become cash buyers when they sell their family home, and are therefore less exposed to the concerns around rising interest rates. This means they place a greater significance on the emotions of moving, as opposed to the financials.”

However, more than a third of downsizers and empty nesters say that suitable stock is holding them back from moving, 28% cite emotional attachment and financial considerations were cited by 14% of those surveyed.

Nearly 16% said that the memories they made in the home is the thing they would miss the most, with 39% pointing to location.

A quarter said unpacking photos, plants and books would create a home, and 13% said the same of family heirlooms.

Around 23% said unpacking the kettle and having a tea and coffee would also do the trick.