Some 19% of homeowners aged 55 or over have considered moving in the past two years but have not done so, according to the annual Homeowner survey conducted by YouGov for HomeOwners Alliance and BLP Insurance.
These over-55s, equivalent to approximately 500,000+ homeowners, cite the lack of the right kind of homes as the main reason for them staying put.
For those who are thinking about moving later in life, emotional ties – rather than financial considerations – tend to be the main barrier, as well as the stress and upheaval that inevitably comes with upping sticks.
The hassle of moving home would put 30% of over-55 homeowners off, while 23% said they wouldn’t want to leave friends, neighbours and their community behind.
Property prices are slightly less likely to be a barrier to moving (22% of over-55 homeowners compared to 31% overall).
While there are differences in the motivations for moving to a new home, the top priorities for that new home are broadly the same regardless of age.
Some 72% of those surveyed said spacious rooms was what they were looking for above all else, closely followed by the 71% of homeowners who said 'good build quality' was their main concern.
Nonetheless, there are still slight differences between homeowners aged over 55 and UK homeowners generally, with the availability of parking more important to this demographic (77% vs 69%).
In addition, low running costs (70% vs 59%), closeness to shops (66% vs 55%), good transport links (56% vs 47%) and living on one level (36% vs 24%) were considerations that were more important to over-55s.
New build homes tend to appeal less to older homeowners. While this type of home is seen as an excellent way of keeping running costs low, over-55s believe they are much less like to deliver spacious rooms, green space or living on one level.
Equally, there are concerns that new build homes don’t typically have good access to local amenities or transport links.
Over-55 homeowners are also seen as very important to the property industry as a whole.
Some say that so-called 'last-time buyers' could be a key component in easing the UK’s housing crisis, principally by downsizing from larger, less occupied homes to smaller properties – this, in turn, would free up more housing stock for second, third or even fourth steppers.
Given there are a projected 11.4 million homeowners aged 55+ in the UK, it is clear that this demographic makes up a huge part of the market and will play a key role in any attempts to address the significant supply-demand imbalance.
When it comes to selling your home, you might not really consider last-time buyers. But if you have a home that would appeal to this demographic – living on one level, proximity to transport links and local amenities, availability of parking, spacious rooms, low running costs, etc. – then it would be foolish not to target your property in the direction of the over 55s.
If you are a first-time seller looking to sell a starter home, this type of property may appeal to those looking to downsize. Last-time buyers should certainly be considered as much as their first-time counterparts.
The over-55s market is clearly one that can be tapped into. At the moment, many are not moving because of a lack of suitable housing – so if you do have a house that suits their needs you could be onto a winner and could certainly feel confident about achieving your asking price or above.