A recent survey conducted by My Home Move has revealed that 58% of over 55s have no intention to downsize in the near future, claiming that they are hindered by moving costs and lack of the ‘right kind of properties’ and despite industry calls for more family-sized properties to come onto market.
Commenting on these findings, Doug Crawford, CEO of My Home Move, said: “The housing market has been suffering from a lack of stock for over 12 months, causing demand to outstrip supply time and time again. This has resulted in sky-high house prices, instances of gazumping increasing and the Bank of Mum and Dad being called upon regularly to help first-time buyers with their deposit. Unfortunately, the findings from our survey suggest the situation is unlikely to ease; especially as 58% of those questioned have no intention of downsizing to release more top-end properties onto the market anytime soon.”
The survey of 1,000 UK residents, aged 55 and over, conducted by independent researchers Gorkana, also discovered that for those who would like to downsize (25%), there existed real and urgent barriers which were stopping them from putting their homes on the market.
39% of would-be downsizers cited there are not enough of the ‘right kind’ of properties available to move into; while nearly 40% saw the costs involved in moving, including Stamp Duty Land Tax, as too prohibitive to consider moving now.
Doug Crawford, said, “Despite the changes to Stamp Duty in 2014, the costs involved in moving can still tally into the thousands. This is especially true since the introduction of the 3% surcharge for additional properties. For those on a fixed income or heading towards retirement, it is not surprising that the financial reality is a stumbling block. We have seen stamp duty holidays for first-time buyers in the past, so there is no reason the government couldn’t extend a similar scheme to downsizers, to help free up the market and get transactions moving.”
In a final point, would-be downsizers highlighted the lack of ‘right-sized’ properties available to buy as a barrier, with over half looking for a bungalow as their preferred new home, as opposed to purpose built retirement properties. However, with only 2% of new builds being registered as bungalows in 2015, it would seem their frustrations are justified.