This month, the BBC reported a story of payments being offered to west Devon housing tenants who opt to downsize. Could this be one solution to free up much-needed family homes in the UK?
The bold move made by councilors is to address a shortage of suitable rental properties for families. Rising house prices and a lack of homes on the market have led to a housing crisis in this part of the country, but Devon is not alone in facing this situation.
The plan is to offer tenants who move to a smaller home a £1,000 fixed payment, with an extra £500 per bedroom released as a bonus. Tenants downsizing from a three-bedroom house to a one-bedroom property would receive £2,000, for example. There is also discussion of a discretionary £5,000 lump sum in areas of West Devon where the housing market is particularly strained.
Generally, it seems that older homeowners are keeping hold of their properties. A report from Legal & General Financial Advice at the end of Summer 2021 finds that fewer than one in four households headed by someone over 55 years old plan to downsize in the near future. This is a smaller proportion than when the survey was conducted three years ago.