Empty nesters don’t want to downsize

Michael Lloyd

April 27, 2018

Almost half (45%) of ‘empty nesters’ are not considering downsizing to a smaller property despite their children having moved out, the latest research from Lloyds Bank found.

A number of parents are making the most of this new chapter in life, with almost two-thirds (63%) admitting that they are enjoying the newly found space and taking joy in rediscovering their independence.

Over two-fifths (41%) said that they are now better off financially and over one in three (37%) said that they are able to spend more quality time with their grandchildren.

Andy Mason, Lloyds Bank mortgage products director, said: “Contrary to the belief that this time in a parent’s life is lonely, a lot of empty nesters are now enjoying life since their kids have flown the nest by being able to travel more and chase lifelong dreams.

“It is also encouraging to see a significant number of homeowners looking to downsize and release funds for their future; movement at this end of the ladder is important to keep the housing market healthy.”

Being financially better off has also meant that ‘empty nesters’ have been able to travel more (31%) with 6% saying that they’ve now had the chance to pursue a lifelong dream.

Although most are enjoying the extra space and freedom, a quarter (26%) don’t enjoy being an empty nester, with 14% saying that it’s difficult to live in the property now that it feels empty

Despite living in an ‘over-sized’ house two-fifths (40%) won’t consider moving to a smaller property as they have built strong ties with the community that they live in.

Nearly a third (32%) reported they are financially comfortable so have no pressing reason to downsize and almost one in three (29%) said that moving would be too much of a hassle/

Looking after grandchildren is also a major reason for empty nesters not wanting to move, as over one in four (28%) said they need the extra space to look after them. They are also reluctant to leave a home full of memories (20%).

Empty nesters typically have two spare bedrooms as a result of their children moving out. These are usually kept as spare bedrooms (65%) or home offices (25%) but there is also some desire to use the extra space for recreational use, with a hobby room being most popular (18%).

Almost a fifth (19%) said that their kid’s bedrooms remain unchanged since they’ve moved out and 2% rent out their spare bedrooms on sites such as Airbnb.

Two in five (43%) have also made improvements to their home since their children left; mainly to kitchens and bathrooms.

Downsizing can typically earn a windfall of £110,000 and for those wanting to downsize (45%), one of the main drivers was to reduce bills. Two fifths (40%) said that they want to downsize to reduce their monthly outgoings and 10% thought they can no longer afford to live in a bigger home.

Typically, downsizers said that they are looking to move to a more manageable flat (30%) or a bungalow (27%).

Only 2% would consider sheltered housing and the majority of downsizers (73%) expected to make money from moving to a smaller property and plan to invest the additional capital.

When downsizing from a detached three bedroom home to a flat or bungalow, downsizers receive £109,659 on average.

Downsizers plan to ensure that they look after their own future in the first instance with any windfall they receive after moving.

Almost two-fifths (37%) planned to invest in financial products, and a third (34%) would invest in their pension. Family would also stand to receive some money as 15% would give the windfall to close family.

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