Many Over 55s Want to Downsize.

by Mark Johnston

Many Over 55s Want to Downsize.

Policy Exchange, an influential government thinktank, has recently suggested that Britain needs to build more bungalows in order to solve the current housing crisis. They believe that this will therefore encourage more older home owners to move out of their bigger homes in order to make way for younger families.

A 2002 report published by Mori, a leading political, social and business research company, found that around 30 per cent of people wanted to live in a bungalow and research carried out by the Halifax revealed that bungalows were peoples, particularly older people, favourite type of home.

Despite the clear popularity of bungalows data has revealed that in 2009 only 300 bungalows were built in this country and currently only 2 per cent of the country’s homes are actually bungalows.

So it appears that planning policy may prevent these homes from being built.

A spokesman for the Department for Communities and Local Government, says “we are pulling out all the stops to get more homes built for all generations and we are determined that good design will be the cornerstone of that”.

Recent data reveals that many older people are living in large family homes with spare rooms. So some experts feel that they may want to downsize to a bungalow, which are smaller and easier to maintain as they are all on one level.

It seems then that all these particular findings come at a time when a recent study by market researcher Consumer Intelligence, has revealed that one in five home owners over the age of 55 is planning to downsize over the next 5 years. This is mainly due to the fact that many can not afford running costs on their larger properties.

Dean Mirkin, director of Key Retirement Solutions, says “although there is huge demand for downsizing, there are real fears among the elderly about moving house which is understandable given that many older people have not moved for years”.

Therefore specialist firm Key Retirement Solutions is launching a nationwide service to handle the house buying and selling process for over 55s, which they believe is the first of its kind.

The service is designed to take the hassle out of moving by helping with everything from the sale of the consumers existing property to finding a new property and also assisting with all the paperwork.

However, this particular service will not come cheap, the company will charge 2.5 per cent of the house price sales, which is the equivalent to £5,000 on a £200,000 home.

Vic Pegna, head of the new service, said the fee “included all legal and conveyancing fees; estate agency fees and valuation”. he also added that  “someone downsizing independently could end up paying around £4,500 of additional costs as well as having to deal with the stress of moving house”.

Ray Boulger of mortgage broker John Charcol did however suggest that it is worth investigating estate agent fees in a consumers area to compare the cost of selling independently, but it was a “reasonable” fee.

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