Generation Stuck Exploring the Reality of Downsizing in Later Life

The concept of downsizing in later life has received growing attention in debates over the current state of the housing market in the UK. However, in much of the recent debate around housing and later life, there is an underlying thread that under-occupancy by older people is a social injustice against younger generations struggling to get on the property ladder. While an increased trend in downsizing in later life would offer benefits for the housing market at large, framing the issue as one generation against another distorts the argument and ignores the core elements that impact the reality of downsizing. This stifles the discussion on what needs to be done to develop the right policy environment that will create the housing opportunities that have to be there if those wishing to downsize in later life are to do so. Fundamentally, the notion of downsizing in later life should be about choice rather than obligation. The debate should therefore be about how we increase housing choice and information for older people. This report informs the debate on downsizing in later life by providing new survey research on older homeowners’ actual experiences and expectations in this respect.
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