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Tenants down-sizing to combat rising rents and inflation

Down-sizing, once the preserve of retired home owners, is now a phenomenon in the rental market too.

That’s the claim of Sarah Coles, senior personal finance analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, who says it’s less a ‘race for space’ and more a ‘crawl to small’. 

“The race for space is being won by the better paid, while younger people are starting the ‘crawl to small.’ At the moment, with lockdown savings still kicking around, and some wiggle room in the budgets of higher rate taxpayers, some people can still afford to keep climbing the property ladder. However, as the cost-of-living bites, there will be plenty more who end up dropping back a rung or two instead” she says.


She says that amongst existing home owners, 12 per cent of those aged 24 to 35 are planning to downsize. 

She says this will include some who move out of the family home later, but also young renters who are being forced to downsize by rising rents – especially if they’re simultaneously trying to save for a home themselves. It will also include those who eventually buy, and may have to downsize again to get onto the property ladder.

One in 10 renters in this group will move areas too, Coles says part of this may be a move further afield to be able to afford more space now that hybrid working is becoming more common. However, a major part is also likely to be a move to a more affordable area in order to avoid paying more rent or downsizing in a more desirable area.

She adds that as time goes on, and more landlords hike rents and prices keep rising, this trend will have a more far-reaching impact. “We expect more people to consider downsizing across the board or moving somewhere more affordable as we go through the year” she concludes.

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    I've certainly had far more enquiries from older people wanting to live in HMOs. Rent inclusive of bills seem to be very attractive.

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    What a sad state of affairs, in your twilight years being forced to move into a HMO. How all governments of all colours have failed us all.


    I'm undecided if it's a sad state of affairs or a sensible idea.
    If the choice is living in a small self contained one bed flat and paying 75% Council Tax plus gas, electric and water including the whole standing charges or living in a shared house with amenities such às a garden, garage, parking, a decent size lounge and well equipped kitchen alongside other people at a similar stage in life is it such a hardship? Especially if it's hundreds of pounds a month cheaper. A lot of people like a bit of human interaction and don't enjoy living in isolation. It's nice to go home to an occupied house.

    Of course some HMOs are just a load of rooms where people lock themselves away and never speak to their housemates. That really is a sad state of affairs for anyone who has to live like that at any age.


    I don't think I would want to do that, but there is something in what Jo says. In the Soviet Union people used to live in communal apartments and then when they were moved into self-contained units after Stalin's death, some people missed the shared nature of living. It says on Wikipedia that one former resident who had always previously lived in a communal apartment said:

    It’s better to live in a communal apartment, a large one, in... a historic Petersburg district, than in a [private] housing complex. [In a housing complex there’s] some kind of disconnection, life is more boring... Everybody is on their own. And here we’re like one big family. If someone is in trouble, it gets shared. Or a joy, you share that too... [It] works out very well.


    In my dotage I love living alone and would not want the interaction that others seem to crave.


    Whilst the lower cost and the company might be appealing, I'd guess the annoyance of other people's washing up in the sink, dirty bathrooms, and all those things that sharers complain about might be even more galling to someone not recently out of a student house.

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    Interesting. I did wonder whether any of my tenants might do this, but as they are generally paying below market rent for 2/3 bed houses, unless they moved to a flat there would not be much of a saving. And whenever I advertise I always get loads of people desperate to move to a house from a flat.


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