Older home owners don’t want to downsize as they cherish their memories, poll suggests

Over half of older home owners in Britain say that they cannot see themselves moving out of their property and downsize as they want to hold onto happy memories.

Research has found that 55% of owners aged 55 and over will never move and two thirds do not want to downsize, even though a fifth are worse off than they thought they’d be.

The Home Sentiment Report from SunLife’s also found that that on average, respondents had been living in the same home for 20 years, and half for more than 20.

‘Our research shows that family homes hold a huge amount of happy memories. Most of our respondents have been in their homes for at least two decades, and in that time have celebrated hundreds of happy family occasions,’ said Simon Stanney, equity release service director at SunLife.

‘And despite the fact that the over 55s are a property rich, cash poor generation, who could free up a lot of cash by downsizing, our research reveals that most cannot bear the thought of giving up their homes and with it, all the memories they had,’ he pointed out.

He also pointed out that on average, people over 55 have seen their homes increase in value by around £135,000, so for people over 55 who own their own home and are looking for a cash lump sum, unlocking some of the value in their homes via equity release rather than by moving, could offer the solution.

One in five over 55s say they are worse off than they expected to be at this stage in life, and while downsizing could offer a way to free up cash to ease the financial strain, 62% still say they would not want to downsize. For one in five, the main reason for not wanting to move was that their home held too many memories.

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