Blog > 4-in-10 over 65s live in homes bigger than they need

4-in-10 over 65s live in homes bigger than they need

By Richard Groom • 7th June 2024 • 3 min read

Survey from Zoopla looks at the attraction of staying in a larger house

Written in line with our editorial policy.

Property website Zoopla has looked deep into why so many older homeowners stay in houses that are bigger than they need on a day-to-day basis. 

According to the research, 41% of homeowners aged 65+ live in a property which is ‘larger than they need’. The survey findings from Zoopla reveal that 9 in 10 older homeowners have at least one spare bedroom, meaning there’s an estimated 10 million spare bedrooms in houses owned by people aged 65+ alone.

So why are so many people choosing to live in homes that are bigger than they need? According to Zoopla, 22% of people cite emotional ties, with two thirds of them (65%) admitting they still think of their property as the ‘family home’.

According to the survey, the average length of time that older homeowners have been living in their home is over a quarter of a century. After so many years making their house a home, with precious memories of raising a family within its walls, selling up in later life clearly isn’t so easy once grown up children fledge the nest.

In addition to nostalgia, Christmas also features as a reason for keeping hold of those extra bedrooms. According to the data, just over a quarter (27%) are worried about the practicalities of hosting celebrations like Christmas if they downsize. 

Despite the capital potentially gained from a sale – which could help to clear or reduce their mortgage, bolster their retirement savings, or top up their monthly income – nostalgia and the ability to invite loved ones to stay comes first for many. 

Other reasons were also cited for homeowners choosing to keep hold of their larger abodes. Worries about moving, for instance, featured on the list. According to the survey, a quarter (25%) of people aged 65+ feel that the process of moving from their home would be ‘too stressful’.

Other ways to access property wealth

Of course, moving from the home you love isn’t the only option available for homeowners looking for a cash boost.

Equity release, for instance, might also enable you to free up some of your tax-free property wealth without having to sell or move house. 

There are many options to tailor your plan, such as interest-only plans which prevent your loan from increasing in size. Alternatively, you can leave the interest to roll-up so there are no monthly payments to make. To be eligible for a plan you need to be over 55 or over with a home worth £70,000 or more, with little or no mortgage on it.

There are alternatives to equity release too, such as retirement-interest only plans (RIOs), borrowing from family members, and remortgaging. You can read more about these and other borrowing options for retirement here.

Speak to a specialist

If an equity release plan sounds like something you might want to consider then make sure you speak to one of our selected advisers. They’ll explain how a plan works and search for competitive equity release rates on your behalf. 

They’ll also make sure you are aware of some potential pitfalls of this style of lending. For example, equity release will reduce the value of your estate and the amount of inheritance you leave.

To find out how much tax-free cash you could release and check your eligibility, check instantly here, call us on 0808 178 3055 or request a call back.

About Richard Groom. A writer with 20+ years’ experience across several sectors including financial services, Richard has a passion for writing clear and simple content on even the most complex of subjects. In his spare time, Richard loves exploring the hills and mountains of the UK on long walks with his faithful cocker spaniel. Follow Richard on LinkedIn

How can we help?

To find out more about equity release or arrange a consultation with an adviser, please call or request a call back and we’ll be happy to help further.

Let’s talk

Let us help with your questions or arrange a quote.

Call 0808 178 3055

Request a call back

Book a call at a time that suits you and we’ll call you back.

Request a call back

Are you eligible?

Find out how much tax-free cash you could release.

Check now

Apply for your no-obligation equity release quote

Find out if you qualify for equity release and how much you could borrow. Just click ‘Get started’ or call us on 0808 178 3055 and one of our team will be delighted to help arrange a free consultation and quote*.

Start your quote journey icon

1. Start your quote journey

Simply click ‘Get started’ to begin your search for the best plan for your circumstances.

Tell us what you need icon

2. Tell us what you need

Fill out some simple details about your situation so we can start to prepare your quote.

Compare your best deals icon

3. Compare your best deals

You’ll get personalised quotes tailored to your unique circumstances and goals.

Related blogs

Read more about equity release and other consumer finance matters.

Birmingham Equity Release

21st December 2023 | 6 min read

Yorkshire uk view

8th December 2023 | 4.5 min read