Moving from a larger property to a smaller one has been identified as the key reason for more than a third of property sales, research has found.
Online property site Rightmove has found that more home sales can be attributed to downsizing as opposed to trading up, with 40% of sellers looking to trade down – compared to 25% looking to upsize.
Homeowners in nine out of ten regions in the UK cited trading down as their key reason for moving, with London the only area that bucked this trend. This is due to more equity-rich buyers putting their investments into purchasing larger homes.
Baby boomers are the key group driving the downsizing phenomenon as they seek to tip the balance between capital-rich but cash-poor.
A rise in the costs of living, coupled with dwindling pension incomes, has left many UK retirees with no choice but to trade in their properties to boost their pension pots.
Many retirees are also having to free up equity to help their adult children financially, contributing money to things like a deposit for their first home.
Rightmove’s research also highlighted that downsizing is acting to freeze property prices, which showed no increase between April and May.
“There are more old people at the top of the chain trying to downsize and fewer at the bottom trying or able to trade up. The ability to trade up is a vital component of a healthy housing market,” said Miles Shipside, director of Rightmove.
“With overall market volumes already in the doldrums, we need a fair and consistent wind of mortgage lending to prompt a speedier housing market recovery,” he added.
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