ESRI finds no real appetite for downsizing among elderly

Research conducted among over-50s focused on potential to free up homes

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Picture by: John Stillwell / PA Wire/Press Association Images

A leading charity for the elderly says that we do not have the infrastructure in place to expect older people to sell their homes to younger families.

A report by the ESRI, which looked at the option of 'empty-nesters' downsizing to smaller premises as a way to ease the current housing crisis, has been accused of stigmatising pensioners.

Researchers spoke to 8,000 people over the age of 50 - but found little interest in moving and little reason to offer incentives.

It says old people are not hugely inclined to move house, according to research they carried out on the issue of freeing-up housing stock.

There is a common belief that elderly people living in our cities often live in units that are bigger than they need.

But it found little desire among older people to move.

The organisation says the potential social isolation of older people must be considered when encouraging them to free up housing for families.

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The ESRI also said that many of those in the older population who live alone occupy small houses with four rooms or less.

Among people living alone, 40% had no children and thus were not "empty nesters", the report authors say.

Just 13.9% of people living alone live in houses of seven or more rooms.

The study also found that, statistically, older people are disinclined to move between the ages of 60 and 60 - but the Institute said it was not possible to say if the results for the period studied (2009-2012) had been exacerbated by economic circumstances.

Justin Moran from Age Action Ireland told Newstalk Lunchtime so-called 'empty nesters' do not have anywhere to go.

Earlier, Professor Alan Barrett of the ESRI told Newstalk Breakfast there are only about 26,000 properties in question.