With an estimated 2.5 million older homeowners hoping to downsize, an all-party parliamentary group, headed by Lord Best, has suggested that the government should be making it easier for older buyers to move. During their research, the group found that in some parts of the country, up to 50% of older people have been priced out of the retirement property market. Making it easier for these people to buy suitable properties could free up more family homes and help people to enjoy more comfortable retirements.
Among the recommendations for the proposed Help to Move scheme are breaks on tax duty for older buyers on properties costing less than £250,000, and improved access to equity loans that would make it easier for people to afford better properties for their retirement. Unlike a mortgage, these loans would be only be repayable when the property is eventually sold, so older buyers would be able to spend more on their new homes without having to make larger monthly repayments.
Encouraging older homeowners to consider downsizing could help to open up more family homes for younger buyers who are looking for a place to raise their children. The parliamentary group estimated that as many as 4.3 million family properties could be vacated by older people if it becomes easier for them to buy new homes. If the scheme goes ahead, it might encourage developers to invest more in building retirement properties. It could also make life easier for those of us who are getting older. Moving to a smaller property can make maintenance easier and more affordable, and it can also leave us with some extra savings to supplement our incomes or pensions.
Although moving to a more manageable property can be a good idea as you grow older, moving house can be particularly complicated when you are downsizing. It is often necessary to clear out the house at the same time, and to get rid of furniture and other items that are no longer needed or which will not fit into the smaller property. Using a company that can combine removals and waste disposal can be a good solution, but it can also help if you can recruit friends and family to help with your move.