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Downsizers driving London demand for new homes

By Sophia Wood-Burgess

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Along with first-time buyers, downsizers have been singled out as the buyers leading the charge in the late 2023 and early 2024 London property market.

Jump to: What can sellers expect from downsizers | Why to downsize: a new perspective

📈 Sales Market Update

In the past few weeks, buyer activity across the London market has slightly increased from seasonal summer levels. Buyers coming to the market now tend to be goal-oriented and serious, and sellers are keeping an eye on this smaller but mighty audience.

This year, national attention on mortgage rates have had an effect on homeowners with mortgages, who dream of upsizing. If they don’t need to move now, they'll be waiting for mortgage rates to drop in the new year, so sellers might want to prepare for the seasonal Boxing Day Bump in buyer activity.

In the meantime, activity within demographics who are not tied to the mortgage market – particularly downsizers – remains steadfast.

Downsizers are typically buyers over 55, looking to pay less for their homes and/or purchase smaller homes than they’re currently living in. We can see a few factors in why this is such an important demographic in the transition from 2023 to 2024:

• Ageing population: The 2021 Census confirmed that there are more people in older age groups than ever before in the UK, making downsizers a larger group than before.

• Cash buyer motivations: the mortgage market may be hurdle to some homebuyers right now. According to the Office of National Statistics, by 2020, almost three-fourths of people 65 years or older in England owned their property outright, so many would be cash buyers. They are in the best position to downsize and get good value for money whilst other demographics wait to see what the mortgage market will do at the start of 2024.

• Cost of living: There is always a benefit for downsizers in decreasing running costs, but there may be an even bigger motivation to make the move right now, considering the cost of living.

The impact of first-time buyers

The other demographic that’s predicted to make moves as we head into the new year is first-time buyers. Frequently, first-time buyers and downsizers work in tandem. Young professionals are looking at rent prices in the London market and considering buying their first home instead, but they’ll need some help from the Bank of Mum and Dad. Mum and Dad have been building up equity in their home for the last 20 or 30 years, and as their children are moving out, they’ll need less space. So, downsizing parents free up funds by selling the family home, so they can simultaneously find a more suitable home for empty nesters while supporting their children in making their first step up the property ladder.

If you’re thinking of selling a home for downsizers or first-time buyers, now’s the time to book a free Foxtons property valuation.

Looking to sell a family home? You may want to set the groundwork for a new year sale.

Downsize your space to make room for your lifestyle

The prevailing narrative for downsizers is that you’re moving out of a family home – which you bought decades ago to be near good schools and other families with young children – and into a quite cottage in a quaint rural village. However, we’re seeing many empty-nesters and retirees who are forgoing the traditional escape to the country for all the lifestyle benefits of a new-build development in a more central location.

Welcome to Riverstone

Award-winning apartments exclusively for those over 65. See how Riverstone sets a new standard for downsizing in London.

“New Builds have always proved very popular with downsizers” says Joel Ellis-Duffy, Foxtons Sales Director - New Homes, “They love the ease of moving into a brand-new home. Everything from the simple buying process, lateral spaces, lifts, brand new appliances (under warranty), on-site facilities and estate management mean downsizers can relax and enjoy their home.”

“After spending decades looking after larger homes that often suffer from poor energy efficiency rating, the lower energy bills associated with New Builds are extremely appealing,” Joel adds, “There are projects specifically designed for downsizers, so even if you’re just reaching retirement or just becoming an empty nester, we can help you find your newly built home. These buildings are designed with downsizers in mind and have a huge focus on a sense of community and places to socialise. These developments are set in some of the best and most connected locations in this amazing city”

When the dream home fulfils a new dream

New dream homeDownsizing gets a bad reputation in our industry (hence the rise of the term ‘rightsizing’). There’s such a strong focus on the memories you’ve made and an idea that you’ve got to go straight from your dream family home to an assisted living facility. However, with more people in older age groups than ever before, there is greater consideration on the lifestyles people want to lead during these life stages.

You’ve spent years building equity, so now it’s time to see what you can do with it. Maybe you’ll buy your next property outright, fund your retirement plan, or choose a new-build home you can lock up leave to spend your winters in Spain. As your new home will be less time-consuming with less unnecessary running costs, you’ll have more time and money to use how you like – hobbies, social clubs, holidays…whatever gilds your golden years.

If you’re looking to downsize, create a My Foxtons account or get in touch with your local Foxtons office. We’ll help find your perfect place.

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