Despite their children having ‘flown the nest’ almost half of all Empty Nesters are not planning on downsizing
Two-fifths don’t want to leave their family home because of strong links to their local area and the need to keep the extra space for grandchildren
Two-thirds are enjoying the joys of independence after their children have moved out
Just under half (43%) of Empty Nesters in Scotland say they are not considering downsizing to a smaller property despite their children having ‘flown the nest’, according to the latest research from Bank of Scotland.
Many parents are making the most of this new chapter in life, with almost two-thirds (60%) admitting that they are enjoying the newly found space and taking joy in rediscovering their independence. Half (49%) of Scotland’s Empty Nesters said that they are now better off financially and over one in three (36%) say that they are able to spend more quality time with their grandchildren. Being financially better off has also meant that Empty Nesters have been able to travel more (31%) with almost one in ten (8%) saying that they’ve now had the chance to pursue a lifelong dream.
Although most are enjoying the extra space and freedom, a quarter (25%) say that they don’t enjoy being an Empty Nester with 16% saying that it’s difficult to live in the property now that it feels empty.
Strong links to community and extra space for grandchildren keep downsizing at bay
Despite living in an ‘over-sized’ house two-fifths (43%) say that they will not consider moving to a smaller property as they have built strong ties with the community that they live in.
Over a third (38%) say that they are ‘financially comfortable’ so have no pressing reason to downsize and one in three (34%) say that moving would be too much of a hassle.
Looking after grandchildren is also a major reason for Empty Nesters not wanting to move as over one in four (25%) say they need the extra space to look after them. Scottish parents are also more reluctant to leave a home full of memories (24%) compared to the rest of the UK (20%).
Using the extra space
Empty Nesters typically have two spare bedrooms as a result of their children moving out. These are usually kept as spare bedrooms (63%) or home offices (30%) but there is also some desire to use the extra space for recreational use, with a hobby room being most popular (13%). Surprisingly, almost a fifth (18%) said that their kid’s bedrooms remain unchanged since they’ve moved out. Over half (53%) have also made improvements to their home since their children left; mainly to kitchens and bathrooms.
Graham Blair, Bank of Scotland mortgage director, said: “It’s great to see so many of our Empty Nesters embracing this change, and making the most of their new found freedom. This shows a generational shift, as this was often perceived to be an upsetting time for parents.
“It is also encouraging to see a significant number of homeowners looking to downsize and invest for their future; movement at this end of the ladder is crucial to keep the housing market healthy.”
Downsizing can typically earn a windfall of £67,000
The report also found that for those wanting to downsize (45%), one of the main drivers was to reduce bills with almost half (48%) saying that they want to downsize to reduce their monthly outgoings and 16% say that they can no longer afford to live in a bigger home.
Typically, downsizers said that they are looking to move to a more manageable flat (36%) or a bungalow (28%). The majority (70%) also expect to make money from downsizing and plan to invest the additional capital. When downsizing from a detached three bedroom home to a flat or bungalow, downsizers could receive £67,211 on average.
Downsizers plan to ensure that they look after their own future in the first instance with any windfall they receive after moving. Three quarters (76%) plan to invest in financial products or another property, and a quarter (25%) would invest in their pension.