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A third of over-55s consider downsizing

  • 08/02/2016
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A third of over-55s consider downsizing
A third of over-55s in Great Britain are considering downsizing or expect to at some point, but a lack of supply leaves many unable to find appropriate properties.

The data suggests that 48% of people who have already downsized would do it again, figures from the International Longevity Centre showed.

However, the report showed that many cannot downsize due to a lack of appropriate properties.

The centre said the problem could be tackled by giving retirement housing enhanced planning status. This would make it exempt from a range of planning restraints, and could encourage developers to build more homes.

Some 29% of those who had already downsized and would consider it again expected to release more than £100,000 in equity. The centre said this showed the high levels of wealth many older people have in their homes.

According to Key Retirement, pensioners are sitting on property wealth exceeding £1.71bn. However, up to a fifth of people over-estimate how much their property is worth, Bower Retirement reported in early January.

The International Longevity Centre’s report said downsizing could be made more affordable by exempting older households from Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) when they move into a smaller home or specialist retirement housing.

It argued this would encourage more people to move, while the overall increase in transactions could help ensure the Treasury does not make a loss. It was revealed today that changes to SDLT made in 2014 cost the British taxpayer £662m.

The report said it might be possible to offer financial support to cover moving costs, or to include late life buyers who face an affordability gap into the Help to Buy: Equity loan scheme.

The scheme allows buyers with a 5% deposit to borrow an equity loan of up to 20% of the value of a new build home, allowing the borrower access a mortgage with a lower loan-to-value.

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