There is a psychological barrier stopping older people from downsizing their existing properties. That is the view of Housing Minister Brandon Lewis, who has suggested he would like property companies to produce more attractive bungalows to encourage pensioners to move from larger homes.
Speaking at a fringe meeting, Lewis said, ‘we need to find the product that makes my parents, my inlaws find a property that they want to move to. It has got to be a positive thing.’
The number of households is on course to increase by 2.2milion by the year 2021. Of these, 1.2million, or 54%, will be households with owners aged 65 or over.
Most recent figures suggest that only 2% of homes in England are bungalows. Mr Lewis added, ‘we need to see more bungalows being built that people want to move to. It is around creating a product that older people find attractive enough that they positively want to move to because there is a psychological barrier to get over.’
Psychological barrier for old people moving home
‘If you have got to a point in your life where you have got your dream home, then you get to the point where you decide it is time to move from that, it is a decision you are making about where you are in your life,’ Mr Lewis continued. ‘That is a really big psychological barrier and we have not cracked that yet in this country. There are other countries where they do have this product,’ he added.
Number 10 is looking to increase pressure on elderly people who live in large accommodation with spare rooms, after their children have moved on. Just last year, a Liberal Democrat minister stated that more than half of over 55-year olds had property with spare rooms.
In 2011, research showed that 25million bedrooms in England were empty, mostly due to the fact that elderly couples do not move on to small properties.