Downsizing and the cities where it pays to have a 'less is more' frame of mind

Property Reporter
25th March 2021
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With much in the press recently about house hunters looking for larger homes and greater space, interesting new research looks at the other end of the market, where downsizing is the preference and where you can save the most money by buying somewhere with one less bedroom.

The study, conducted by self-storage experts Space Station, analysed live property listings on for the UK’s 100 largest towns and cities and found that the most lucrative place to downsize is Poole. On average, you’ll save a staggering £517,818 by dropping just one bedroom in the Dorset coastal town.

This is more than quadruple the UK average (£123,053) and over £67,000 more than you’ll save from scaling down in London, which is second on the list at £450,834. In fact, for the amount of money you’ll save by losing just one bedroom in Poole, you could buy a whole five-bedroom property in 49 of the 100 places studied. In Stoke-on-Trent, you could buy two.

The Staffordshire city is also the least profitable place to downsize. In Stoke, you stand to gain just £37,768 from moving to a property with one less bedroom. However, this could still buy you three premium hot tubs for your new home, showing the incentive of downsizing. It is followed on the list by four northern towns and cities, with Doncaster and Grimsby completing the top three.

The top five UK’s places where you’ll save the most and least from downsizing are:

London is predictably the place where you’ll gain the most from moving from a two to a one-bedroom home (£245,434), and from three to two bedrooms (£489,618), but different locations take the top spot in the other categories.

You could save yourself an enormous £1.1m when downsizing from four to three bedrooms in Poole, largely due to having the most expensive four-bedroom properties anywhere in the UK (£1.6m average). This saving could see you fully furnish your three-bedroom property 72 times over. Not to be outdone, its south coast neighbour Bournemouth, just down the road, will put the most cashback in the bank when dropping from five to four bedrooms, saving over £690,000.

The smallest differences in pricing when downsizing are in northern England. In Barnsley, the average price difference between two and one-bedroom properties is just £415, while Grimsby has the smallest gap if you were to move down to a two-bed, as they cost just £14,930 less than those with one bedroom more.

For people looking to step down to a three-bedroom home, buying in Bradford will save you the least. The Yorkshire city boasts the UK’s third-cheapest four-bedroom properties (£227,153 average), meaning you’ll stand to save just £56,179 by moving to a three-bed house, although you could still buy yourself 93 garden sheds with this saving.

Finally, those looking to scale down from a five- to a four-bedroom home should avoid Salford, as, amazingly, it’ll actually cost you £67,527 more to have a bedroom less.

Vlatka Lake, Marketing Manager at Space Station, said: “Many homeowners will reach a point where they no longer have a need for as much space in their property and some Brits may have reached this conclusion a bit quicker because of lockdown.

“It’s fascinating to see how savings from downsizing vary so dramatically around the UK, with the value of some individual bedrooms being more than whole family homes in other areas.

“You’re almost always going to save money by downsizing and there are storage options available if you don’t have quite enough room for your possessions in your smaller home.”

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