Refusal to downsize is hurting the housing market

Almost half of homeowners whose children have moved out are not planning to downsize because they like their house and the area they live. Some 45 per cent of so-called empty nesters say they won’t be moving to a smaller property now their children have left home.

But, with concerns about lack of housing supply pushing property prices up, experts say empty nesters should consider downsizing if possible to free up vital housing stock. As well as this, moving into a smaller home can free up cash for retirement.  

Two-thirds of homeowners surveyed by Lloyds Bank say they enjoy having the extra space now their children have left home, while 41 per cent say they are better off financially so don’t need to sell up and 29 per cent say moving would be too much hassle.  

Meanwhile, 37 per cent want to keep the spare room for their grandchildren. But some owners have other plans for the extra space – two-thirds of people like to have a spare room for guests, a quarter use it as a home office and almost one in five turn it into a room for their hobbies. 

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Meanwhile, 2 per cent are taking advantage of the government’s rent-a-room scheme and letting out their spare bedroom to make some extra cash. Just 19 per cent keep their children’s bedroom unchanged after they’ve moved out. 

Andy Mason, mortgage products director at Lloyds Bank, says: ‘A lot of empty nesters are enjoying life since their children have flown the nest, travelling more and chasing lifelong dreams. But it is encouraging to see a significant number still looking to downsize – this releases funds for their future and is important to keep the housing market healthy.’ 

According to Lloyds, the typical downsize results in a chunky windfall of £110,000. As well as a cash injection, homeowners say the appeals of downsize include reducing bills and monthly outgoings. Some 37 per cent of downsizers say they plan to invest the money they free up, with a further 34 per cent likely to put the cash into their pension and 15 per cent giving money to family. 

-This article was orignally written by our sister publication Moneywise.

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