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Cambridge Centre for Housing & Planning Research

 

This research explored why older households move in later life, the size of property they moved to and why they choose either new build housing or existing stock. It considered what the house building sector can learn from their experience and what opportunities that this presents to the house building sector.

Last-time buyers

In January 2021, The Guardian newspaper highlighted our research for the Nationwide Foundation in their feature 'A place called home'.

Unpicking the downsizing discourse

A paper by Gemma Burgess and Valentine Quinio has been published online by the journal Housing Studies. Unpicking the downsizing discourse: understanding the housing moves made by older people in England discusses the nuances of the resiidential moves made by over 55s in England.

The ‘downsizing’ discourse is presented as a ‘win-win’ situation which benefits older people and the rest of society. However, a survey and interviews conducted with over 55 s in England reveals more nuanced patterns of residential moves, behaviours and aspirations than suggested by ‘downsizing’. Only a minority of older households choose to downsize. This paper looks into this mismatch between observed housing choices and the construction of downsizing as a policy goal. It suggests that theoretically speaking, the very notion of downsizing is problematic and difficult to define and is an over-simplistic concept which in reality applies to a heterogeneous group of people.

Burgess, G. & Quinio, V. (2020) Unpicking the downsizing discourse: understanding the housing moves made by older people in England, Housing Studies, DOI: 10.1080/02673037.2020.1754346

The article can be found online at https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/02673037.2020.1754346.

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Funder

NHBC

Project Start Date

September 2015