More than 1.4 million home owners in the UK aged over 65 will consider downsizing in the next five years but they are struggling to find the right kind of property, new research suggests.
Not only are there not enough appropriate properties for them to move into but they are also concerned that the potential financial gains from downsizing are not high enough, according to a study from financial specialist Key Retirement.
Some 30% of over-65s who own their own, the equivalent of 1.45 million owners, want to find a more suitable home as they get older with the biggest group, 58% living in the North East, followed by 44% in the South West.
Across the country more than 620,000 over 65s say they have looked into downsizing but cannot find a suitable home in their area while another 500,000 say they’ve considered moving but would not be much better off financially.
Not being able to move in retirement is a major concern for 53% as they are concerned about being able to maintain their home while 27% are worried about affording the maintenance needed on their property.
The research also shows that 42% are worried about bills and the need for repairs on their home and 17% say their house is just too big for their needs.
Around 11% of over 65 questioned say they have already downsized with pensioners in the North West and South East the most likely to have already made the move to a more suitable house at 13%.
‘Downsizing should make financial sense for older home owners 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,’ said Dean Mirfin, chief product officer at Key Retirement.
‘But despite the numbers of older home owners 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,’ he explained.
‘Pensioners are sitting on property wealth of more than £1 trillion which could significantly improve their standard of living in retirement and helping them make the best use of that money would boost their finances and the economy as a whole,’ he added.