Max Turner from the new homes team at Savills discusses trends among older buyers.

Those approaching – or who have already reached – retirement age have largely been among some of the biggest beneficiaries of house price growth.

According to Savills research, older generations have more than £2.5 trillion in equity tied up in property, which could be accessed to help fund retirement or assist children or grandchildren on to the housing ladder.

We know there are more than 1.29 million owner-occupiers aged 65 and over living in larger four-bedroom homes. Moving to a smaller two-bedroom home could unlock an average £305,090.

Based on an average life expectancy of about 20 years after the age of 65, the average downsizer can therefore provide themselves with a tax-free income of £1,218 a month for the rest of their life.

Downsizers in Suffolk 

In the East of England, this figure is ever so slightly higher – with those who move from a four-bed to a two-bed home unlocking an average of £1,270 a month. Only downsizers in London (£2,523 a month) and the southeast (£1,485 a month) fare better.

East Anglian Daily Times: Max Turner from the new homes team at SavillsMax Turner from the new homes team at Savills (Image: RMG Photography)

Here in Suffolk, we have several new schemes that are perfect for downsizers. Among the most popular is The Lawns in Stonham Aspal, a collection of 10 homes including five three-bedroom detached bungalows with prices from £695,000.

Also listed is Jacks Green in Creeting St Mary, a mix of homes including two- and three-bedroom bungalows with prices from £295,000, and Painter’s Place, a collection of 10 luxury two- and three-bedroom bungalows for the over 55s in East Bergholt, with prices starting from £575,000.

New homes also have other benefits that fit a downsizing lifestyle. They are generally easier to look after, with very little, if any, maintenance costs; they are usually extremely energy efficient, so monthly utility bills are kept to a minimum; and they also tend to be in well-connected locations, close to plenty of amenities.

How can policy play a role?

Understandably, homeowners are sometimes reluctant to downsize given their attachment to what is often a much-loved family home. But it is an increasingly common way for people to supplement their pension provision.

To make the most efficient use of our existing housing stock, however, there also needs to be a change in policy.

While housing initiatives tend to focus on getting younger generations on to the property ladder, we also need to look at financial incentives for downsizers to free up stock, as well as greater provision of retirement housing that better suits the needs of active downsizers.

For advice on the new homes market in Suffolk, contact Max Turner on 07807 999746 

This column is for general information only and cannot be relied on as financial advice for individuals. Consult your professional adviser.