Over 55s looking to downsize sat on £1trn of property

Robyn Ashman

April 30, 2018


The value of property owned by so called last-time buyers will top the £1trn mark this year, research from Legal & General and CEBR has found.

Last-time buyers, homeowners over 55 who are living in a house too big for their needs and would like to downsize, now own £938bn of housing stock.

In total their are now 3.1 million last-time buyer households in the UK, with the number of homeowners who have considered downsizing rising from 32% to 39% in the past three years.

This points to an increasing demand for better later living options for over 55s however despite this there remains a chronic undersupply of age-specific properties.

Only 7,000 homes delivered to this sector last year making it the most under-supplied area of the housing market.

This was borne out in the research as 49% of respondents said they had been unable to downsize, despite wanting to,  because there were no suitable properties available, with a further 29% stating that the properties that were suitable were too expensive.

Phil Bayliss, head of later living at Legal & General, said: “Last-time buyers account for more than a quarter of the total number of households aged over 55.

“This report highlights the crucial role they could play in unlocking the wider UK housing market, further demonstrating the need for government to recognise this sector through key policy changes.

“If rightsizers were able to move to a property more aligned to their desired lifestyle and needs, vast swathes of homes would be freed up for growing families and second steppers.

“This, when matched by the huge health benefits proven to come from age appropriate housing, such as a 50% reduction in GP visits and 40% reduction in NHS spend, means that increasing the number of properties available to these buyers is the most efficient way to help solve the UK’s housing crisis and spiralling NHS costs linked to our ageing population.”

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