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The Downsizer Gap: Where Downsizing Pays The Biggest Premiums

Posted 6 December 2022 by Keith Osborne

Jackson-Stops has mapped out the areas in England and Wales which offer the biggest equity release when downsizing...

The latest research from national estate agency Jackson-Stops has mapped out the areas of the country which offer the biggest equity release when downsizing across England and Wales.

By moving from a detached home to a semi-detached home, movers could be left with a windfall of £205,157; a figure which has increased by £8,681 since January this year alone, and £44,226 since 2020.

Figures show that potential downsizers make up 24% of all households aged 55 and over, amounting to 2.9million homes. With baby boomers being the largest proportion of the UK population, Jackson-Stops has estimated that if all potential downsizers decided to make the move, over £594billion in equity could be released.

Nick Leeming, chairman of Jackson-Stops, said: “Baby boomers are prominent amongst our housing landscape and hold the key to unlocking property wealth. Many high value areas not only provide the biggest purchasing power for an onward downsizer property, but could also mean significantly more financial agility in the future, and for some, living mortgage free.”

Top 10 areas that give movers the biggest bang for their buck when downsizing


*Removing Scotland and individual London borough authorities. **Based on regional monthly house price averages of the latest ONS HPI monthly report, sold data for the latest data release, Aug 2022

The research looked at which locations provide the biggest price difference proportional to an onward move when going from a detached home with a national average of four bedrooms, to a semi-detached home in the same area, with a national average of three bedrooms. Ranking in first place was Elmbridge in Surrey, a district whose principal towns and villages include Cobham and Weybridge, with an equity windfall of £805,428.

In fact, Surrey ranked twice in the top three spots, as a leading location for those able to get the most equity from their downsize.

The WhatHouse? team has picked of brand new homes for sale in some of the top-rated regions:

Elmbridge, SurreyLondon Square Walton on Thames offers a choice of semi-detached three-bedroom houses priced from £950,000.

Woking, SurreyEldebury Place from Barratt Homes, with four-bedroom houses from £629,995

Hertsmere, HertfordshireHarperbury Park in Shenley , with a selection of three, four- and five-bedroom homes from £585,000 to £1.25million.

Dacorum, HertfordshireRoman Park in Aldbury offers two-and four-bedroom homes with starting prices between £435,000 and £860,000.

NorthumberlandWest Meadows at Arcot Estate is a David Wilson Homes development of three- and four-bedroom houses, prices starting at £224,995.

Sunderland, Tyne & WearWellington Park offers three- and four-bedroom houses with starting prices from £227,995 to £267,995.

Tim Firth, director of Jackson-Stops Weybridge, explained: “Surrey has hit top of the charts for good reason. The long-term growth of the large family home market here has far superseded that of the apartment and smaller homes market, which means the gap in value can feel enormous and be a hugely lucrative move for any keen downsizers looking to cash in whilst house prices remain buoyant, getting a more manageable sized home in the process.

“Detached homes have always been in such high demand in Surrey, as a melting pot for families and high earners leaving the capital, often their first steppingstone towards the countryside. Families will move here and stay for decades. It’s not like London where postcodes can be much more transient. Older sellers I speak to have been here 30 or 40 years, with established roots and a social life that they don’t want to walk away from in their downsize. They might move just 20 minutes down the road, or to an outlying village, but never too far.

“I am going out and speaking to more downsizers now than I have done all year. I ask them, ‘why now?’; ‘why not when the market peaked just after the pandemic?’, and many will say that they had been considering it for many years, but the prospect of heating and maintaining a vast four- or five-bed home during an energy crisis had been the push they needed to finally downsize.”

Top 10 based on price difference alone

List of areasExcluding London, the top 10 locations which gave buyers the largest sum left over after downsizing from a detached home to a semi-detached were all based in the home counties, with Elmbridge topping the charts again alongside hotspots in Hertfordshire, Kent and Surrey. New entrants on the list, not present in the percentage difference ranking, include Windsor, Guildford and Cambridge, all leaving a healthy £430,000 or more left over from the move.

Jackson-Stops’ own UK branch data shows that the number of downsizer enquiries are now higher than pre-pandemic, having increased by 21% since 2019, a trend agents think will continue as many homeowners choose to sell now in order to maximise the sale price of their home and release more cash as they downsize.

Nick Leeming, chairman of Jackson-Stops, commented: “We find it a common theme amongst our branches that downsizers choose to stay in the area, with family and close ties still very much at play. The home counties and those close to them are the golden circle for all buyer types, keeping house prices hearty in good times and bad.”

Find out more at www.jackson-stops.co.uk.

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