Two thirds (66%) of people aged 60 or over have never considered downsizing their property, according to the latest research by BLP Insurance.
Those from the West Midlands (82%) and London (71%) were the most resistant to the idea of downsizing, whilst those from Yorkshire and Humberside (45%) and the North East (44%) were the most open to a shift in their living arrangements.
Phil Harris, director at BLP Insurance, said: “It is of critical importance that we incentivise older people living in large, former family homes to downsize.
“We are in the midst of a much publicised housing crisis and must seek solutions to free up properties to meet people’s needs.
“Constructing an adequate stock of purposely-built homes for last time buyers is the first step
“This will free up housing stock for first and second-time buyers, provide extra financial reassurance to those downsizing, while injecting much needed impetus into the whole market.”
The main drawbacks to downsizing according to the study was the upheaval or stress of moving (45%) and reduced living space (35%).
Loss of familiarity and the sentimental impact of leaving the family home also ranked highly.
The top two motivating factors for downsizing were related to property size and day-to-day living expenses.
The death of a spouse or partner was a reason to move to a smaller property for less than a fifth of those surveyed (19%).
Harris added: “Moving home, especially in elder years, can be an arduous and emotional experience. It is clear that the housing industry needs to do more to make the process of downsizing as seamless, stress-free and transparent as possible.”