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Downsizing: who does it and why?

Divorce, bereavement, financial pressure: our new research reveals the most common reasons why people choose to downsize their homes. See the full results of the survey below.



Which of these statements about downsizing applies best to you personally?
I have already downsized 32%
I am planning to downsize in the next 5-10 years 31%
I haven’t thought about downsizing 15%
I’ve got no intention of downsizing 14%
Other 9%


How many bedrooms that you would define as ‘spare’ do you have in your current home?
0 12%
1 32%
2 36%
3 16%
4 or more 4%


If you have downsized, did you do so under pressure?
I downsized under pressure 21%
I downsized, but not under pressure 79%


If you have downsized in the last 10 years, how much capital - if any - did you release?
Negative amounts - downsizing left me out of pocket 17%
Less than £10,000 22%
£10,000-£50,0000 24%
£50,001-£100,000 13%
£100,001 - £250,000 15%
More than £250,000 9%


If you did downsize under pressure, what were the reasons? Please tick all that apply:
I/we needed to release money to pay for day-to-day living costs 16%
I/we needed to release money to pay for care costs (ours or other people’s) 2%
I/we needed to release money for other reasons to do with our own needs (e.g pay off our own debts or mortgage) 23%
I/we needed to release money to help out our children 10%
I/we needed to release money to help out our grandchildren 4%
I/we felt guilty about leaving our housing wealth untapped 1%
I/we came under direct pressure from family members to release housing wealth 1%
I/we could no longer cope with the upkeep of a larger home 23%
I/we needed to move to a new location 16%
Features of our home (such as stairs, size of corridors or rooms, locations of bathrooms and bedrooms) made it unsuitable 14%
Divorce, bereavement or other change in circumstances made it necessary to move 40%
Other 16%


If you have downsized in the last 10 years, are you using money from the sale of your home for any of the following? Please tick all that apply:
Holidays/travel 24%
Healthcare or care costs for you or your partner 3%
Healthcare or care costs for wider family members, friends or others 1%
Refurbishment of your home 38%
Adaptations to your home to cope with reduced mobility or similar 3%
New car 3%
Savings 36%
Investments in stocks and shares 10%
Day-to-day living costs 21%
Helping out children/grandchildren with deposits for mortgages, help with mortgage payments or help with rental costs 23%
Helping out children/grandchildren with studying costs or student loan repayments 4%
Helping out children/grandchildren with day-to-day living costs 11%
Helping out children/grandchildren to pay off debts 5%
Net: helping out children/grandchildren 36%
Charitable giving 2%
Other 15%


If you have downsized already, please tell us whether you agree or disagree with the following statement: My/our biggest reason for downsizing was to help our children and grandchildren
Net: agree 21%
Net: disagree 64%
Strongly agree 7%
Somewhat agree 13%
Neither agree nor disagree 15%
Somewhat disagree 17%
Strongly disagree 47%


Please tell us how far you agree or disagree with the following statements:
Older couples or single people living in large houses should downsize in order to free up family-sized houses for younger families  
Net: agree 31%
Net: disagree 42%
Strongly agree 5%
Somewhat agree 26%
Neither agree nor disagree 27%
Somewhat disagree 21%
Strongly disagree 21%
Governments should incentivise older people to move from larger properties in order to mobilise the housing market  
Net: agree 54%
Net: disagree 26%
Strongly agree 13%
Somewhat agree 41%
Neither agree nor disagree 21%
Somewhat disagree 13%
Strongly disagree 13%
Blaming older people for the housing shortage is just a way to avoid addressing difficult questions around housing and public resources  
Net: agree 80%
Net: disagree 11%
Strongly agree 51%
Somewhat agree 28%
Neither agree nor disagree 9%
Somewhat disagree 5%
Strongly disagree 5%
I feel I’ve been labelled by some younger people as a ‘house-blocker’  
Net: agree 14%
Net: disagree 55%
Strongly agree 5%
Somewhat agree 9%
Neither agree nor disagree 31%
Somewhat disagree 19%
Strongly disagree 36%
Greater numbers of older divorcees (‘silver splitters’) mean more homes are needed than ever before  
Net: agree 51%
Net: disagree 10%
Strongly agree 11%
Somewhat agree 39%
Neither agree nor disagree 39%
Somewhat disagree 7%
Strongly disagree 3%
Grandparents need larger properties and extra space because they are so often relied upon for childcare  
Net: agree 49%
Net: disagree 18%
Strongly agree 11%
Somewhat agree 38%
Neither agree nor disagree 33%
Somewhat disagree 13%
Strongly disagree 5%


Take a look at the summary of the results here.

Survey of 1014 Gransnet users between February and May 2018. The data is not weighted and is based on all answering each question.










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