Many ‘ Empty Nesters’ Choose Not to Downsize

Author: Alison Gourley
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New research from the Bank of Scotland has revealed that about 43% of adults whose children have ‘flown the nest’ intend to remain in the family home rather than downsizing. Although most are enjoying the extra space and freedom, 25% say that they are not appreciating living in an empty nest with 16% saying it is difficult to adjust to the property now being empty. Despite this, two fifths want to stay, in what is probably now an over-sized property, rather than moving to somewhere more practical as the parents have built strong ties with the community in which they have been living.

Over 38% say that they are financially comfortable and therefore do not need to downsize. 34% say that moving is far too much of a hassle.

The research also showed that looking after grandchildren is another major reason for ‘Empty Nesters’ to stay put as 25% say that they need the extra space for this. Interestingly, Scottish parents are more reluctant to leave a home full of memories (24%) compared to the rest of the UK (20%)

Parents typically have two spare rooms as a result of their children moving out.  These rooms are usually kept as spare bedrooms (63%) or home offices (30%) but sometimes the extra space is used as a hobby room (13%). 18% said that their childrens’ bedrooms remain unchanged since they moved out. Over half of parents made improvements to their home since their children left, mainly to kitchens and bathrooms.

One consequence of this is that upwardly mobile homeowners looking for a family home are finding that demand greatly outweighs supply and they are frequently disappointed in their search.

About Alison Gourley

Alison graduated from Edinburgh University School of Law in 1991. She joined Mitchells Roberton in 1996 and became an Associate thereafter. Alison specialises in both commercial and residential conveyancing, advising individuals, large and small businesses, banks, charities and further education institutions on all property transactions. Having 20 years experience in property law Alison has developed excellent relationships with surveyors, independent financial advisers and banks so is ready to act swiftly and effectively to meet her clients’ needs in an ever changing property market. She enjoys getting to know her clients and is committed to giving them an efficient service and is always friendly and approachable. She is also involved with the marketing aspects of the firm. Alison is a residential conveyancing tutor in the paralegal course offered by Central Law Training through the University of Strathclyde. Alison is married to a photographer and has one child. In her free moments she likes to keep fit. She is a talented amateur artist and loves nature and the great outdoors. Email:

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