The over-55s are an important and growing segment of the new-build housing market. In their report ‘Moving Insights from the Over-55’s‘, The NHBC Foundation looks at the reasons why the over-55’s move and the types of homes they buy.
The research is based on a sample of almost 1,500 homeowners aged over 55 who moved to their current new-build home between 2010 and 2016.
While equity release is a key motive for some, 46% of those surveyed invested more money in their home when making the move, and just under a third upsized to a home with more bedrooms. At the same time, hidden deeper in the evidence, is a strong demand for two-bedroom homes among those choosing to downsize.
Overall, a large proportion of households (40%) in this study moved either down or up to a four-bedroom home, making this the most common home size purchased by the over-55s. The findings challenge the assumption that older home owners normally downsize to smaller properties, and instead highlight a diversity of moves: in terms of size (bedroom numbers) 39% of households downsized, many upsized (28%) and a third same-sized (33%).
While much of the evidence reveals a wide range of different motivations among the over-55s thinking of moving home, some key themes emerge with important implications for house builders. Older purchasers considering downsizing are about 20% more likely to choose a new-build home, and are particularly attracted by the prospect of living in a home which is easier to manage and enjoys lower maintenance and running costs, manageable gardens and a new home warranty – features which are high priorities for this age group.
Although new-build homes are particularly appealing to the over-55s, the report finds that they often feel that new build marketing is directed at families or young people and argues that more should be done to reflect the needs of older home buyers in this sector. There is a strong antipathy among those aged 55 to 75 to being described as ‘old’ and there are important lessons to be learnt for marketing to this age group.
The NHBC Foundation was established in 2006 to provide high-quality research and practical guidance to support the house-building industry as it addresses the challenges of delivering 21st-century new homes.