The rise of the Silver Spenders: why over-55s are upsizing to new-builds


Traditionally, you might expect those approaching retirement age to be looking at replacing their oversized properties with one more suited to their needs in older age. While this is often still the case, it is now almost as likely that they’ll be moving into a larger new-build instead.

Rather than downsizing, a report from NHBC Foundation which surveyed 1,500 homeowners aged 55 to 74 has found that 46% had spent extra money on their latest house move, with 28% of those who had moved house between 2010 and 2016 moving into a larger property with more bedrooms.

Although a greater number chose to move into a smaller property (39%), the findings show that huge numbers of those who are approaching or in retirement are willing to invest more money into their homes.

Going against stereotypes

With many people in this age group living either alone or just as a pair, it might be assumed that they would want to live in a one- or two-bedroom property, yet 40% of those surveyed had moved into a four-bedroom house. Across the population as a whole, only 20% of homeowners live in four-bedroom properties, going against the assumption that older people will downsize, leaving bigger homes available to younger families.

Neil Smith, NHBC Head of Standards, Innovation and Research, said: “They say 50 is the new 30 and as our latest survey shows, a large proportion of older house buyers don’t fit the old-fashioned stereotypes.

“Many older buyers are not looking to downsize or even to release equity when purchasing a new-build home. What’s more, they don’t consider themselves as ‘old’ and feel they are decades away from requiring specialist accommodation.”

New-builds are top choice

As the age for first getting onto the property ladder rises, and the general population continues to get older as people live longer than ever, more than half of all homeowners across the UK are aged 55 or over.

In terms of property type, new-builds are proving appealing to the older generation, with 20% more of them thinking about buying this type of home than younger home movers. The benefits of new-builds include less maintenance, better insulation leading to lower bills and warmer homes, as well as being equipped with new home warranties – all of which might be particularly appealing to people later in life.

Smith added: “There is strong demand for high quality new homes across the age ranges, and it’s vital that we tune in to the needs of this important group of buyers.”

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The rise of the Silver Spenders: why over-55s are upsizing to new-builds


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