Family home supply restricted as empty nesters stay put
The phenomenon of the empty nest is a familiar one: the children grow up and leave home, leaving their parents with the choice of downsizing or carrying on living in a home that is larger than they need, but is in a familiar location.
From the point of view of the generation that has flown the nest, downsizing by the empty nesters would be the ideal solution. After all, those younger people will mostly want to settle down and have their own families, which will mean they seek out an appropriate home to live in.
However, this is not what many empty nesters want to do. A survey by Lloyds Bank has shown 45 per cent have not even considered downsizing. Only 14 per cent feel unhappy at living in a large and almost empty home, whereas 63 per cent enjoy the extra space, which they can use to accommodate visitors and utilise for hobbies.
Moreover, with 40 per cent saying they would never move having built up strong community ties and 32 per cent saying there is no financial need to move, it is no wonder so many stay put.
The problem with all this is by not moving out of homes designed for families, they are further constraining the already short supply of properties.
That means it is more likely that the very generation that has just made these nests empty will struggle to find affordable housing of a similar kind to buy and live in as they raise their own children.
Letting agencies may find that, if this trend continues, their market sees increasing demand for rental family homes.
Last November, research by the London school of Economics carried out for the Family Building Society suggested that stamp duty provides a disincentive for empty nesters to downsize. It argued that a tax break could encourage more of this group to sell up and thus increase the supply of family homes.
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