Creating a 'whole chain' housing effect

24/03/14
 

A recent Demos survey showed that 58% of the over 60s were interested in downsizing (rising to 75% among those with four and five bedroom homes), while 25% said they were interested in downsizing to a retirement property in particular. And why not?

Surveys of people living in retirement villages find more than eight in ten residents report feeling happier in their new home, half say their energy bills are lower, and a third feel their health has improved.

But benefits to older people aside, imagine what 25% of over 60s - 3.5 million people - downsizing could do for the housing market.

If everyone interested in moving to a retirement village was able to, 3.3 million homes (including two million three-bed homes) would be freed up. Growing families would be able to move in, vacating their smaller properties for first and second time buyers.

This ‘whole chain’ effect is far more beneficial and sustainable than the current “Help to Buy” strategy, which inflates prices for first time buyers and does nothing for those stuck on the rest of the ladder.

The government is missing the bigger picture. We shouldn’t be stimulating supply at the bottom, but at the top.

Claudia Wood is Chief Executive of Demos

 

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