A research report from the National House Building Council (NHBC) Foundation suggests that the older buyers over 55 are almost as likely to upsize than to downsize when moving house.
The survey suggested that 40% of the older buyers chose a four bedroomed house, despite average occupancies of only two people. The report also found that 46% of them had invested extra money in their latest house move.
The research targeted almost 1500 older home-owners aged between 55 and 74 who moved to their current new-build home between the years of 2010 and 2016.
During that time period, 39% downsized to a property with fewer bedrooms, 33% moved to a property with the same number of bedrooms and 28% upsized to a property with additional bedrooms.
These results challenge the commonly held preconception that older homeowners mostly downsize.
The second part of the research project selected 30+ households for detailed, qualitative interviews.
This research concluded that the over 55s are drawn to New Build homes as they offer features such as:
• low maintenance overhead costs
• low running overhead costs
• smaller, more manageable gardens
• new build warranties
The report found that the over 55s are 20% more likely to consider purchasing new-build homes over second-hand properties when compared with younger purchasers.
The findings concluded that many over 55s were looking for a similar or and increased amount of space. This was often to accommodate visiting friends and relatives, or to provide space for arts, crafts and hobbies.
Many of the respondents did not view themselves as being ‘old’ or in need of specialist care.
In summary, key findings included:
• More than half of over 55s (54%) released an average of £105,000 equity as a result of their move
• 46% invested an average of £84,000 in buying a new home
• 74% of those downsizing said the main reason for doing so was to reduce maintenance costs
• 40% of the over-55s occupy a four-bedroomed house compared to 20% of the overall population
Of those that did choose to downsize, there was a strong preference for 2 to 3 bedroomed properties.
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