Campaigners are hoping that the forthcoming white paper on housing in the UK will include measures that give incentives to older homes owners to downsize.
The new buzz word is ‘rightsize’ to describe how older home owners, many of whom are retired with adult children who have left home but are still living in a family sized property, can be helped to move.
According to organisations like Saga retired people often find it costly to move to a smaller home so they stay on in the family home despite acknowledging that a smaller most cost effect home would be more appropriate.
They are hoping that measures such as exempting older home owners who are downsizing from stamp duty could help and would free up more family sized homes for those who cannot move due to a shortage of supply.
According to Paul Green, Saga’s director of communications, it would be a true inter-generational solution to the housing crisis and would deliver on Prime Minister Theresa May’s promise of helping young and old alike.
There are also calls for the government to build more ‘age appropriate’ homes for retired people to buy rather than just concentrating on affordable and starter homes for first time buyers.
There are some 3.4 million households aged over 65 who are potential downsizers with 1.1 million having one spare bedroom and 2.3 million with two or more spare bedrooms. Independent economists have estimated that an extra 111,000 family homes could be released on the market if more older owners were encouraged to move
It is also estimated that boosting the building of homes suited to older generations could also boost the government coffers due to an estimated £500m in stamp duty from these kind of house moves.
Saga research shows that seven in 10 home owners aged 50 and over would like to ‘right size’ in retirement to smaller homes or age related developments. Yet only 1% of home owners live in retirement developments, compared with 17% in the US and 13% in Australia.