Downsizing to pay for retirement

Downsizing to pay for retirementIs downsizing your property part of your plan to pay for retirement?

If it is, you are not alone.

According to some new research, nearly half of those thinking of moving home during the next three years plan to downsize.

The research by Lloyds Bank found that downsizing is cited as the most popular factor in moving home, with 46% of movers planing to find a smaller property.

Downsizing has become a more popular option in recent years, probably encouraged the anticipated returns of trading in a larger property for a smaller one.

According to the research, detached homeowners could release an average of £117,230 by moving to a cheaper semi-detached property.

The average age of a downsizer is 53, at which age the greatest number of downsizers had lived in their homes for between 11 and 20 years.

Moving to somewhere which better served their circumstances was the main reason given for downsizing, with 53% of respondents to the survey giving this reason.

Another 39% said they traded down to reduce bills or free up equity, with 31% downsizing to provide extra cash in retirement.

A fifth of downsizers said it was something they were doing earlier than expected, for a variety of reasons including health, changes to relationship status and needing to live closer to better local amenities.

A third of downsizers say they are planning to move to a more affordable part of the country.

Freeing up some cash is clearly a big motivation for downsizing to a smaller property, with 72% saying they expected to profit from their move.

35% said they planned to reinvest their additional capital in a new property, 29% would invest in other financial products and 21% would either invest in their pension or pass on the cash to their family.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, house prices in London made this the area where homeowners stood to make the most from downsizing, with an average gain of £201,052 from trading down from a detached property to a semi.

Downsizers from the South West experienced the highest rise over the last 10 years in monetary terms in what they could gain from moving from a detached to a semi-detached home, with the average price difference increasing by 19% from £109,687 to £130,654.

For those trading down, the potential amount of cash homeowners could raise by downsizing their property from a detached home to a semi-detached stood at an average of £117,230 in 2015; this was an increase of just 1% since 2005.

If downsizing is part of your plan to finance life in retirement then it is important to consider all of the implications.

Our clients who have traded in an expensive property for a more affordable one in their fifties or sixties have done so for a variety of reasons, including to give their cash balance a bit of a boost at the start of retirement.

If this is part of your plan for retirement, do speak to us about factoring in the cash to your lifetime cash flow forecast, so you can better understand how much you can afford to spend or gift to family members.

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