Pandemic sees surge in downsizing plans for one in eight over 70s

Posted on Thursday, September 23, 2021

The number of over 70s planning to move to a smaller property has accelerated due to the pandemic, according to new research from Retirement Villages Group who are calling for the Government to introduce an SDLT waiver for downsizers to actively support people in making this choice.

Newly released research from the group has highlighted that 12% of the over 70s have or are soon looking to downsize as a direct result of the pandemic- with 33% looking to do so because their current property is too difficult to maintain.

According to the data, 65% recognised that their property is too large at their current life stage and 22% are seeking greater financial freedom by unlocking equity from their home.

The study also found that the over 70s are taking further steps towards increasing their financial freedom to ensure they’re able to live their best life, pursue goals, and stay active for longer. 11% are now taking a more active role in managing their finances, while those with debts have reduced their debt by an average of £866 - a total of £1.7bn across the UK – since March 2020, and 23% are saving more than ever before.

In light of a surge in demand for rural properties, a shortage of homes for sale, and rising property prices are driven by the pandemic, more homes freed up in the property market could not be better timed for families looking to gain space.

Encouragingly, 7% of people aged over 70 reported that the last 16 months have helped them raise the subject of moving out of the family home with their loved ones. However, many still find it a difficult conversation and put it off, staying in the family home for longer than is suitable.

Retirement Villages Group is calling for change, encouraging everyone – young and old - to open up better conversations about life choices in older age and start removing the stigma associated with downsizing. They are also calling for Government to introduce a Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) waiver for downsizers to actively support people in making this choice and paving the way for families to confidently explore options that support independent, active later living choices.

Will Bax, CEO, Retirement Villages Group, comments: “The pandemic has prompted many of us to rethink where we are in life leading to a huge surge in interest for our retirement communities. Our research reinforces this trend, suggesting that more people are planning for the future, getting on top of their finances and exploring their property options. Whilst downsizing remains a difficult conversation for many families, for those that seize the moment it’s a massive step towards to financial freedom that enables people to live life on their terms, to pursue personal goals, and stay active and independent for longer.

“Helping people to make the decision to downsize is also a huge opportunity to rebalance the UK property market. Feeling up the top rung of the property ladder at a time when our ongoing shortage of housing supply continues to create heat in the market, despite the economic impacts of the pandemic. This is a win-win and we call on the Government to do more to support older people in making the choice to move into a new breed of later life communities across the country; aspirational, connected, thriving places, that play a vital role in their local neighbourhoods.”


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