Date Published 09 October 2012
Just over half (51%) of potential homemovers are looking to "downsize" within the next three years, compared to just a fifth (22%) looking to trade up to a larger property, according to the latest research from Lloyds TSB.
For homeowners reaching retirement it is common to consider downsizing to a more manageable home. Lloyds TSB`s report however, found that the reasons for downsizing have broadened in these tough economic times.
While 59% want to move to a smaller property that is better suited to their circumstances, a third (33%) of potential downsizers would like to move to a smaller property to help reduce bills. Almost two-fifths (37%) would like to free up equity in the property and almost one in three (30%) said they want to downsize to help support retirement plans.
A fifth (21%) of those considering downsizing are looking to trade down earlier than expected, with the majority citing financial concerns as the key driver.
While older homeowners are still playing a key role in the downsizing market, the research highlights that homeowners of different ages are now considering it as an option. Unsurprisingly over 60% of potential downsizers are over-55s but over one in four are aged between 46 and 55 and over 5% are aged between 36 and 45.
Homeowners at different stages of the property ladder are also looking to downsize to a smaller property in the next three years. Almost half (49%) of homeowners living in their second home are considering trading down, as well as 61 per cent of homeowners in their third home and the same number (61%) in their fourth home.
The report showed that over two thirds (68%) of homeowners considering downsizing have lived in their current property for over a decade. However, one in five (20%) have lived in their property for between six and 10 years and over one in ten (12%) have lived in their property for only five years or fewer.
Stephen Noakes, Mortgage Director, Lloyds TSB said: "Downsizers are now playing a key role in the housing market and as the study shows we are starting to see homeowners on different stages of the property ladder considering it as a sensible option as more and more families are looking at ways to save money.
"While we have seen a significant rise in the potential cash windfall, downsizing can make a lot of sense for a wide range of people, it is important to consider carefully whether trading down is the best solution. Whether you are looking to lower utility bills, pay for an offspring`s tuition fees, or free up extra cash for retirement we recommend you seek professional advice before taking action."
Those looking to trade down later in life have seen their potential cash windfall rise by more than 40% over the past decade.