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Understanding Downsizing - The Intergenerational Foundation

A study provided by the Intergenerational Foundation (IF) in the UK was done on the issue of downsizing. The full report is attached. The IF's work "involves undertaking research into areas where we believe there is an imbalance in expectations and entitlements, amongst different generations and publishing our findings to academics, policy-makers, business, the media and the public." In the IF study, they found that the contributing facts that drives the decision to Downsize:

  • The realization that the home is too big now that the children have left for good.

  • Far less use is made of the available space than before.

  • Wishing to move closer to grand children and children who are living elsewhere.

  • The house needs updating.

  • Taking financial advantage of the value of the house.

  • Increasing household running cost.

  • Being closer to local shops and services.

The IF Study found that the Principal Factors that Affect 65-plus year old Homeowners are:

  • Emptiness with having a home where the children have flown the nest but still wishing to accommodate visits from friends, children and grandchildren.

  • Retirement by one and/or both partners.

  • Part-time work, either by reducing the amount of work they do or changing the way they work (eg working from home).

  • Change of work place for those starting to work from home.

  • Seeing more of each other, with a need to create a new life for themselves and being together more of the time than they did when they were working.

  • Remaining active, with many still feeling extremely youthful and full of energy and - althought they realise that things can change very quickly (eg if a partner were to die) they expect to be active at least until their late-70s.

  • Increased significance of the home as people spend more time in it. It is also likely to be an asset that is now fully or almost fully paid for and this is often the main financial fruit of the working life of the couple.

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