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Over-55s face downsizing challenges

The number of ‘last-time buyers’ who want to downsize their home has increased from 32% to 39% in the past 3 years, research by Legal & General  shows.

The study defines a last-time buyer as a homeowner aged 55 or over, whose household is under-occupied, with 2 or more empty bedrooms.

Despite the growing proportion of this group who would like to downsize, only 13% have been able to do so.

Almost half (49%) said this was because of a lack of suitable properties, compared to 25% in 2015.

Last-time buyers hold around £938 billion in property wealth, which will pass £1 trillion by the end of 2018, the research found.

Those surveyed said their ideal age to downsize would be between 65 and 69, and 13% said they would do so to free up money for retirement.

Phil Bayliss, head of later living at Legal & General, said: 

“A large section of our housing stock – worth nearly £1 trillion – is under-occupied and owned by people over the age of 55. 

“It is vital that the over 55s are able to make and act on the choices that are right for them."

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