Majority of over 55s don’t want to downsize

20 November 2019

Bucking the retirement tradition of downsizing 

For many decades, it’s been the norm for people to move to a smaller, more manageable property at some point in their retirement, but the survey* of 2,000 British homeowners aged 55 and over by the Nationwide Building Society suggests today’s retirees and those nearing retirement have a different vision for their future. Of those questioned: 

Space – the number one reason for not wanting to downsize 

Nearly half of those surveyed (49%) said that space was the main deterrent to downsizing, for a variety of reasons: 

Other reasons for avoiding downsizing 

Other factors given by respondents for wanting to stay in their current property included: 

The implications of staying in a large home 

Just over half of those willing to downsize say it’s because a smaller home would be easier to manage, but of those who are adamant they want to stay in their current home, nearly half (47%) haven’t thought about or don’t know how they will cope with their home as they get older. A fifth (22%) suggested they would ask relatives to help them maintain their property. 

The perception that all older people want to downsize to much smaller properties is outdated and cliched. As the research shows, people aged 55 and above are putting off the traditional downsizing house move, with space being very much in demand for a range of reasons. However, remaining in a larger property may have financial implications in later life, from mortgages to maintenance,” commented Jason Hurwood, Nationwide’s director of home propositions. 

The role of equity release for those who want to stay in their current home 

Nearly a quarter (24%) of those who want to stay in their current home said they would consider equity release to enable them to stay put. Equity release can be a solution for some people whose retirement dream is to stay in their current home,” agrees Jan Johnson, the founder of 55+ Equity Release. It can release funds for home improvements and maintenance or to boost your regular income to help with everyday bills.”

If you don’t want to downsize, our expert equity release advisers will be happy to have a no-obligation conversation with you to explore whether equity release could be a viable solution, given your personal circumstances and aims. 


*Nationwide Building Society, September 2019 

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