After children have flown the nest, family homes often have rooms to spare.
A recent study has found that the average over 50 is sitting on the equivalent of £56,574 worth of unused space in their home.
The research, which included 2,000 adults over 50, revealed older parents were left with an average of 34 square meters of empty space, once children had departed.
With a typical house coming in at 165.6 square meters and the average house price around £276,393, each square meter equates to the value of £1,669.
Simple maths shows that the average person has more than £56,000 worth of unused space (34 x £1,669).
Despite the average over 50 having around £18,113 in their bank account, a third of the respondents in the study had less than £7,500 in their savings. This means the money in their property could be of considerable value for the future. Especially with a third of participants saying theyplanned to give money to their offspring in later life.
Mark Gregory, founder and CEO of Equity Release Supermarket - the company that commissioned the research - said equality release could be an alternative option to selling a home.
He said, “Our survey found there is plenty of space in the family homes of empty nesters which is going to waste, and it's not just space - but possible financial wastage.
“There tends to be fond memories and a certain amount of nostalgia linked to a property, so it’s difficult for people to say goodbye to a family home.
"However, with a reluctance to say goodbye to all those memories, many, incorrectly believe that downsizing is the only way to release their financial security tied up in a property, when the reality is that equity release can be an alternative solution.
“The research highlighted that many over 50s are effectively sitting on thousands of pounds of wasted space and - with the aid of equity release - could be used to ease people’s financial situation, enhance retirement or enable them to explore various other opportunities in later life.”
Of those who took part in the survey, just 12% considered taking out equality in their property to help with their finances, compared to a third who had thought about downsizing.
Mark Gregory, from Equity Release Supermarket, added, “Many people don’t understand the features and benefits of equity release as a possible solution to support retirement.
"Therefore, taking equity out on their home is not always the first port of call, and they end up opting for alternatives that may not be the best option to suit their circumstances.
“Whilst it’s not the only option to raise capital for an enhanced retirement, equity release could be beneficial and should always be considered with the right financial advice."
Lizzie Thomson is a regular contributor to woman&home, and also contributes to Metro.co.uk, Ideal Home, Culture Trip, and Evening Standard, covering all things lifestyle.
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