The following post was written by a You Have More Than You Think partner.
The economic downturn has had a significant impact on pension pots, and although there is still disagreement over whether quantitative easing is to blame, thousands of people approaching retirement are having to look at other ways to top up their income in later life and maintain their expected standard of living.
One of the options for those looking for more financial security in retirement is a home sale. For those who are asset-rich but cash-poor, selling the five-bedroom family home to buy something smaller may be the ideal solution – many homeowners have found this. In fact, property listings website Rightmove recently suggested that homeowners from the baby-boomer generation looking to downsize are now the driving force in the housing market. It found that trading down was the number one reason for selling in nine out of the ten regions of England and Wales, the only exception being in London.
However, since so many people are looking to downsize, it is creating an imbalance in the housing market. Miles Shipside, director of Rightmove, explained: “There are more old people at the top of the chain trying to downsize and fewer at the bottom trying or able to trade up.
“The ability to trade up is a vital component of a healthy housing market.”
While the market imbalance is inconvenient for those looking to trade down to secure their financial future, it creates a bigger problem for those looking to make a quick home sale to address debt concerns. Downsizing to free up cash from assets is a popular way to tackle developing debt problems, but the current market is not helping.
Anyone with serious debt concerns should seek independent advice first and foremost, with a view to prioritising debt repayments and getting some control over the situation; National Debtline is a good place to start, offering free advice.
However, property-buying firms such as Tom Craven may offer a solution to some of these homeowners. These companies buy properties in any condition and any location, and although the homeowner receives slightly less than market value, the deal is usually completed quickly with the payment of a lump sum.
Before rushing into any decision though, it is worth speaking to estate agents in your area to gauge the strength of the market. Although the market favors buyers overall, regional variations do occur and houses like yours may be in demand.