Belfast Telegraph

Monday 21 April 2014

Downsizing would be big benefit to economy

Although the offer by older people to forego their winter fuel allowances and bus passes is admirable, the fact is the major cost for most families with children or university-age adults is housing.

Most recent building has been in one or two-bedroom dwellings, yet many older people whose children have left home continue to live in four or five-bedroom houses.

This greatly reduces the supply of such houses to the type of families who actually require the space, thereby having the effect of pushing up house prices. A great round of downsizing by empty-nesters would have several beneficial effects.

It would increase the supply of larger houses, thereby reducing their cost; it would generate additional tax revenue in stamp duty, it would enable the downsizers to reduce their running costs and, if they spend their bonanza, it would provide a boost to the economy and additional VAT receipts.

STEVE TRAVIS

By e-mail

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