Wednesday, 22 September 2021

Half of empty nesters happy not downsizing

ALMOST half of parents whose grown-up children have “flown the nest” have no plans to downsize to a smaller property, the latest research from Lloyds Bank has found.

Many “empty nesters” are instead making the most of this new chapter in their life, with almost two-thirds (63 per cent) admitting that they are enjoying the newly found space and taking joy in rediscovering their independence.

More than two-fifths (41 per cent) said that they are now better off financially and over one in three (37 per cent) say that they are able to spend more quality time with their grandchildren.

Being financially better off has also meant that empty nesters have been able to travel more (31 per cent) with six per cent saying that they’ve now had the chance to pursue a lifelong dream.

However, although most are enjoying the extra space and freedom, a quarter (26 per cent) say that they don’t enjoy being an empty nester, with 14 per cent saying that it’s difficult to live in the property now that it feels empty.

Despite living in an “over-sized” house, two-fifths (40 per cent) say that they will not consider moving to a smaller property as they have built strong ties with the community that they live in.

Nearly a third (32 per cent) say that they are “financially comfortable” so have no pressing reason to downsize while almost one in three (29 per cent) say that moving would be too much of a hassle. Looking after grandchildren is also a major reason for empty nesters not wanting to move, as more than one in four (28 per cent) say they need the extra space to look after them. A fifth (20 per cent) say they are also reluctant to leave a home full of memories.

Empty nesters typically have two spare bedrooms as a result of their children moving out. These are usually kept as spare bedrooms (65 per cent) or home offices (25 per cent) but there is also some desire to use the extra space for recreational use, with a hobby room being most popular (18 per cent).

Surprisingly, almost a fifth (19 per cent) said that their children’s bedrooms remain unchanged since they’ve moved out and two per cent of empty nesters rent out their spare bedrooms on sites such as Airbnb.

Two in five (43 per cent) have also made improvements to their home since their children left — mainly to kitchens and bathrooms.

Andy Mason, Lloyds Bank mortgage products director, said: “Contrary to the belief that this time in a parent’s life is lonely, a lot of empty nesters are now enjoying being able to travel more and chase lifelong dreams.

“It is also encouraging to see a significant number of homeowners looking to downsize and release funds for their future — movement at this end of the ladder is important to keep the housing market healthy.”

The report also found that for those wanting to downsize (45 per cent), one of the main drivers was to reduce bills, with two-fifths (40 per cent) saying that they want to downsize to reduce their monthly outgoings and 10 per cent say that they can no longer afford to live in a bigger home.

Typically, downsizers said that they are looking to move to a more manageable flat (30 per cent) or a bungalow (27 per cent). Only two per cent would consider sheltered housing.

The majority of downsizers (73 per cent) expect to make money from moving to a smaller property and plan to invest the additional capital. When downsizing from a detached three-bedroom home to a flat or bungalow, downsizers receive £109,659 on average.

Downsizers plan to ensure that they look after their own future in the first instance with any windfall they receive after moving. Almost two-fifths (37 per cent) plan to invest in financial products, and a third (34 per cent) would invest in their pension.

Family would also stand to receive some money as 15 per cen would give the windfall to close family.

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