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Consumer group says 'last time buyers' could free-up housing market

The HomeOwners’ Alliance claims that over the past two years alone over 500,000 owners aged 55-plus have had to ditch plans to move “because of a lack of suitable housing.”

It claims that 19 per cent of owners aged over 55 have considered moving since 2014 but have not done so; almost a quarter of them cite a lack of suitable housing as the main reason why they had not done so. 

The HOA says ‘last time buyers’ such as these could help ease the housing crisis, if they moved from homes that are under-occupied and into smaller properties.

The survey suggests emotional ties more than financial concerns are a significant barrier to moving home in later life. The stress and upheaval of moving is more likely to be among the reasons not to move for homeowners age 55-plus who considered a move, as well as not wanting to move away from friends, neighbours and their community. Property prices, by contrast, are less likely to be a barrier.

When thinking about a future move, top priorities are similar regardless of age.  Good build quality (71 per cent), spaciousness of rooms (72 per cent) and parking (69 per cent) top the list. 

However, compared with UK homeowners generally, a greater proportion of homeowners age 55 or older identify low running costs, proximity to shops, good transport links and living on one level as important criteria in their next new home.

When considering new build properties as an option, older homeowners see new builds as being particularly strong on low running costs (52 per cent) but less likely to deliver on spaciousness of rooms (23 per cent), available green space (23 per cent) and providing living on one level (12 per cent). 

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