5th February 2018

Later-life housing is a growing market, with around 60% of projected growth in households over the next two decades set to be among those aged 65 and over1. Moving home at any age is almost always a stressful and emotionally-challenging time, and arguably the longer you leave it, say in your late 70s or 80s, the more challenging it is likely to become.

Many people who move into retirement housing do so reactively, perhaps because of a decline in fitness and health, rather than part of their forward planning. This has led many to the view that we should all think more carefully earlier in our lives about where we might want to live in our retirement years, and plan for this in the same way that we plan our retirement income. Some experts think consideration should commence in your 40s.


It’s estimated that although nine out of ten of those aged 65 to 79 live in under-occupied housing, and could free up much-needed family homes if they were happy to move to a smaller retirement unit, there are only around 515,000 units of specialist retirement and ‘extra care’ housing in England. This figure only equates to enough specialist housing to accommodate 5% of those aged over 65.

Being able to downsize to a smaller, easier to maintain property can allow people to remain living in their own home for longer, easing the pressures on the residential care sector. Obviously, people should be free to choose how and where they live in retirement. However, there are clearly many people who would like to downsize, but are put off both by the cost and the lack of suitable accommodation.

Policymakers are said to be actively considering various moves, like scrapping stamp duty on retirement homes, the development of purchase plans for the elderly, similar to the current Help to Buy scheme, and offering help with costs associated with moving home.

The information within the article is purely for information purposes only and does not constitute individual advice


1International Longevity Centre UK, 2017