Third of home movers downsizing due to an ’empty nest’

New research has revealed that while a third (33%) of those opting to move home in the current market are downsizers, it’s not the increased cost of borrowing or living that is driving them to reduce the size of their home, but the fact they live in an empty nest. 

Quickmove Properties commissioned a survey of UK home sellers to have sold over the last year, asking how the size of their home changed during the latest move.

Half of those surveyed stated that they continued to climb the ladder, moving to a bigger home, while 17% moved to a similar sized property as their previous home. However, a third (33%), chose to downsize to a smaller home.

The average age of those choosing to climb the ladder to a bigger home came in at 39, while those downsizing had an average age of 60.

The most common move when downsizing was to a house with one or two fewer bedrooms than before, with 19% of those surveyed stating they wish they had made the move to a smaller home earlier.

The primary reason for the decision to downsize was due to an empty nest, either because their kids had left home permanently or they had suffered bereavement.

Retirement also ranked high, as did reduced mobility due to age or health reasons, with the need for an easier to maintain home also a contributing factor.

But despite mortgage costs being of secondary concern to the nation’s downsizers in terms of driving their move to a smaller home, 40% said that downsizing actually reduced their mortgage payments by 50% or more.

The majority (21%) were also able to cut their other household outgoings by as much as 20%, although for some (12%), they were again able to cut this cost by more than half.

Finally, 80% of downsizers released equity of up to £150,000 when making their move.

Sales Director at Quickmove Properties, Mark O’Dwyer, commented:

“In current market conditions, downsizing and releasing equity can provide you with the financial security to ensure that your bills are paid and any increase in the cost of your mortgage is more easily managed.

However, financial stability isn’t the primary factor behind our decision to downsize and, in fact, the vast majority do so due to lifestyle factors such as an empty nest, retirement and for age or health reasons.

This is very much the case when it comes to downsizing – or ‘rightsizing’ – to modern park home developments, where like-minded people enjoy detached, bungalow-style living in easily maintained luxury homes. Many park home buyers find these safe, welcoming and ready-made communities hugely appealing, after living in a larger empty home for some time. No wonder so many wish they had made the move earlier.”

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