How Property Finders Help Last Time Buyers To Downsize

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There has been much government emphasis on first time buyers in recent years with Help to Buy and the Bank of Mum and Dad helping millennials whose salaries have not kept up with house prices. However, a report earlier this year for the Centre for the Study of Financial Innovation, “The Last Time Buyer: housing and finance for an ageing society” highlighted the increasing importance of incentives for last time buyers to downsize if the whole property market is to start moving again.

The importance of the last time buyer market

The report looked at ways of enabling older people to release the substantial wealth that is tied up in larger properties to free up housing stock for younger families. Some 65% of the national housing wealth (estimates vary between £2.6 – £4.5 trillion) is thought to be in the hands of homeowners over the age of 55. Not only would downsizing help to ease the lack of housing supply, it would also free up funds to support older people with the cost of care in their later years.

Who are the last time buyers?

Typically couples with children having flown the nest, or people living alone. Reports refer to last time buyers in their 50’s and 60’s, but you could argue it’s even older than this. Many 50-year old property owners are still working with school age or newly graduated children at home. With mortgages now available for octogenarians, the last time buyer is certainly not confined to the 50 – 60-year old demographic.

Help for people downsizing

With an ageing population estimated to reach 17.4 million people reaching retirement age by 2040, how do you encourage this sector of the market to downsize and make way for the next generation of home buyers? Jennie Hancock, a leading independent West Sussex property search agent based in Chichester believes the answer is in working through common fears about downsizing and focusing on the many upsides:

Fears of downsizing:

  • Costs (stamp duty, selling fees and removal costs)
  • Lack of suitable properties and a lack of space
  • Reluctance to dispose of family heirlooms.
  • Not ready for the retirement development format
  • No space for visiting children with grandchildren
  • No tax incentive to do so.
  • Hard to move on your own.

Benefits of downsizing

  • New mortgages for over 55’s and even for over 80s’ making it easier
  • Less maintenance in a smaller property
  • Improved accessibility for those with restricted mobility
  • More energy efficient, warmer and save on bills.
  • Release equity which can be invested to fund care costs later in life
  • Find housing in an area which better suits a new “retired but active” lifestyle
  • Ability to move closer to where children have settled to start families.


Jennie also agrees that greater choice is needed for the last time buyer in terms of design, practicality, energy efficiency and lower maintenance costs. The call to abolish stamp duty for last time buyers has increasing support and could unlock this sector of the property market with benefits further down the housing ladder.

Property search agents help downsizers

An independent property search agent is best placed to help you make your downsizing move. Not only are they likely to have a list of buyers interested in your property, but they will also have an unrivalled knowledge of the most suitable properties for downsizing in the area. So, a property finder can facilitate both ends of the transaction, helping you sell and find your ideal home for the next stage of your life.

Downsizing in West Sussex

Jennie Hancock of Property Acquisitions, the leading property search agent in West Sussex, has over 30 years’ experience in the local property market. With her previous background as a West Sussex estate agent before taking up the mantle of a search agent, clients she has sold property to in the past are now turning to her to find their perfect downsizing home. Jennie offers an efficient, discreet home buying service for buyers whether downsizing or looking for a larger home. To get in touch please call Jennie on 07776 452128 or email her on