Retirement Villages Group (RVG) has revealed that 12% of over-70s have downsized or are soon looking to do so, as a direct result of the pandemic.
RVG’s ‘Back on Track’ research found that 33% of older adults looking to downsize were doing so because their current property is too difficult to maintain, with 65% recognising that their property is too large at their current life stage.
Meanwhile, more than one in five (22%) were seeking greater financial freedom by unlocking equity from their home.
More than one in 10 (11%) are now taking a more active role in managing their finances, while those with debts had reduced them by an average of £866 – a total of £1.7bn across the UK – since March 2020, and almost a quarter (23%) are saving more than ever before.
One in five (19%) were planning to spend, and one in four (27%) were intending to travel more than usual.
Over-70s were also freeing up cash to better support their children, with 10% reporting that they lent more money to their children than usual in the past 16 months.
An estimated 7% of people aged over 70 reported that the past 16 months have helped them raise the subject of moving out of the family home with their loved ones.
Will Bax, chief executive of RVG, said: “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.
“Feeing 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 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.”