Stamp Duty costs drive downsizing dilemma for over 55s

Half of retirees are planning on staying in their current home post-retirement, a figure which rises to seven out of 10 of those aged 71-75.

An older heterosexual couple are pictured hooding keys to a new house.

The costs of paying Stamp Duty and the hassle of moving are the main reasons why just 14% of those aged over 55 and who are not yet retired are considering downsizing, research from later-living provider Pegasus reveals.

In 10 years, the number of people in England aged 65 and over will have increased to 22% of the population, or around 13 million people.


But only half of over 55s plan on staying in their current family home post-retirement – a figure which rises to seven out of 10 (68%) in the 71-75 age bracket.

Steve Bangs, Pegasus
Steve Bangs, Pegasus

The cost of Stamp Duty (35%) and the hassle of moving (37%) were the two biggest barriers to downsizing. A lack of suitable housing was the next biggest barrier for over a quarter of future downsizers (26%).

Steve Bangs, Chief Executive of Pegasus, says: “The downsizing dilemma is significant for the industry for two reasons – not only does it underline the lack of supply and need to build more homes fit for all, but it also underscores a huge concern with the overall health of the housing market.

“If older homeowners remaining in larger family homes feel they can’t move, upsizing families will also find themselves at a loss. This will in turn have a ripple effect right across the board, slowing down transactions and hindering housing prospects for first-time buyers.”


Pegasus’ data also shows that attitudes towards downsizing are shifting, with those aged 55-65 most inclined to downsize (88%) compared to just 8% of those aged 66-75.

Bangs adds: “England’s rigid planning system fails to provide a framework that enables and encourages the delivery of homes in the later living sector.

“This puts the UK decades behind countries like the US, with our nation’s perception of later living and the reality of age-specific housing completely mismatched.

“The lack of supply of quality mid-sized and smaller homes combined with the lack of awareness of a step that exists before moving into a dedicated care-led facility keeps the sectors potential capped for consumers.”

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