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Agents seeing more demand from downsizers, says equity release firm

An equity release consultancy says the result of its survey of estate agencies suggest an increase in interest from prospective downsizers.

The consultancy, Key, says it has found some 44 per cent of estate agents questioned reporting a rise in inquiries from owners who are over-65 looking to downsize in the past year; most say the reason for the move is to save money, as well as find a more manageable property in which to live. 

The consultancy adds that agents estimate that downsizers release £46,000 on average, but report various obstacles which mean that around a third of prospective downsizers give up. 

It claims that would-be downsizers “often have unrealistic expectations of how much they will make from the sale” with 63 per cent of agents apparently saying sellers expect higher prices for their home than they are likely to receive.

And downsizers also run into problems with finding suitable homes to move to. 

Around 77 per cent of agents questioned believe there is a shortage of homes for retired people to move to while 80 per cent say there is a lack of homes suitable for those who are less mobile.

“There are substantial financial gains to be made from downsizing but estate agents suggest that it is unfortunately not the quick and straightforward process that many think with one in three downsizers giving up on sales in the past two years” says Key’s Dean Mirfin.

“Sales can take longer than expected because pensioners’ homes are not to the taste of some buyers or need major repairs. It may make financial sense for sellers hoping to make money to invest in home improvements before putting their houses on the market but with some looking to make money by downsizing, they may simply not have access to the cash.

“Arguably, the bigger issue is that there is a shortage of suitable homes for sale for retired people. In turn that has a knock-on effect as retired homeowners don’t sell which reduces options for younger buyers.”

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