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Downsizer enquiries back to pre-pandemic levels but dropped last year – research

Downsizers could free up an estimated £209,215 worth of equity, according to research from national estate agency Jackson-Stops.

Its annual research on the ‘downsizer gap’ – the money left over when moving from a detached house to a semi-detached house in England and Wales – has increased by £5,467 since 2022, and £91,622 in a decade.

It is the fourth year in a row that the downsizer gap has increased year-on-year, starting with 2% growth from 2019 to 2020 and peaking in 2020 to 2021 at 14%, with the total growth over that period sitting at 30% and amounting to almost £1million (£921,461).


Jackson-Stops estimates that UK downsizers aged over 55 are sitting on £2.9 trillion in property equity. 

According to its own branch data, the number of downsizer enquiries are now in line with pre-pandemic levels, having increased by 16% last year alone. However, the data does depict a drop off in downsizers registering in 2023, indicative of a slower transactional market as the year closes with higher mortgage rates and election uncertainty.

Excluding London, Elmbridge in Surrey has come out on top for the second year in a row, offering downsizers the largest sum of cash left over this year at £789,795. Principal towns and villages in Elmbridge include Esher, Cobham, Walton-on-Thames, Weybridge and Molesey.

Elmbridge also offers movers the largest proportional difference at 113%, in which detached houses cost more than double semi-detached. This percentage figure has climbed from last years (110%) as whilst average house price values cool across the board, the gap has widened in Elmbridge with a larger drop in semi-detached houses at 4%, versus 2% for detached.

Other top areas highlighted in the research include Woking, Buckinghamshire, Tunbridge Wells, and Sevenoaks.

Nick Leeming, Chairman of Jackson-Stops said: “Downsizers today are of all ages as a consequence of higher rates of borrowing, where the aspiration to maintain lifestyles, school fees and sunny holidays, as well as wanting to be less wasteful with heating and upkeep, means smaller properties, typically of two and three bedrooms in highly prized locations, have never been so sought after.”

“It’s interesting to see the downsizer gap shrink this year in line with wider house price trends recorded across the board. This is to be expected as the market shifts from a seller’s advantage to a buyers one, where the froth from early 2022 has certainly dissipated into more normal operating conditions.”


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