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Third of over 50s believe they are not living in the ‘right-sized’ home

Written by: Samantha Downes
Moving home can make sense for a lot of people, especially older homeowners looking to downsize and release cash
Third of over 50s believe they are not living in the ‘right-sized’ home

Nearly a third of people aged over 55 feel their home is too big, too small, or will not be the right size for them as they age, research from Paragon Bank has revealed.

Paragon Bank’s report, ‘The Rightsizing Challenge’ surveyed over 2,000 homeowners age 55 or over and found 11 per cent felt their property was too big, while five per cent claimed it was too small.

A further 14 per cent said they felt their property was the right size for them now, but planned to move to a smaller property in the future.

The survey also found that 33 per cent would like to move to a more suitable-sized property and of those, six in 10, or 61 per cent, said a lack of suitable properties was the main thing stopping them.

Paragon’s research showed that many of those surveyed lived in a property that felt bigger than necessary. More than half, 53 per cent, of single person households had three or more bedrooms, while almost a third, 29 per cent of two-person households had four bedrooms or more.

Bungalows top wish list

Of those who felt their property was too big, 71 per cent planned to move in the next five years, with a bungalow favoured by 62 per cent. Just over a third, 36 per cent, planned to move to a detached home and a flat was the preferred option of 29 per cent.

The over 75s were the most likely to downsize, with 82 per cent planning to sell up and buy a smaller home.

Nearly nine in 10 of those who lived in London and thought their home was too big, planned to move within five years.

Those in Wales were more likely to stay put, with only 44 per cent of those who thought their home was too big looking to move in the next five years.

Seven in 10 people said they wanted to move to a property with either one or two bedrooms, whilst 10% said they would consider moving to an assisted living style property.

Nine in 10, or 91 per cent, of those planning to move to a smaller home intended to own their next home outright, with 4 per cent saying they would need to buy with a mortgage; a further five per cent said they intended to rent.

Keeping hold of the cash

Paragon’s research found that if a house move in the next five years resulted in a financial windfall, 52 per cent would hold the money as cash, while 28 per cent would invest.

Almost a third would gift cash to family, with 52 per cent of home-movers in the East Midlands making them most likely to do this.

Those aged over 75 would be more likely to gift money to family, with 51 per cent planning on passing the money down, compared to 28 per cent of people of all age groups.

A quarter of people would also look to splash out on a big ticket item, such as a holiday or car, while a fifth said they would look to use the money to upgrade their new home.

Derek Sprawling, savings director at Paragon Bank said: “Moving home is not a simple decision, with many memories and feelings associated with the family home. But it can make sense for a lot of people who either live in a home too big for their need, or who are asset rich but cash poor.”

“Right-sizers should consider how they intend to use their cash windfall. For example, do they need all of it now or would they be happy to lock some away for a couple of years and retain a smaller amount for everyday living.”

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