The Downsizer Gap: Where downsizing pays the biggest premiums
  • Jackson-Stops’ latest research reveals the best regions to downsize in across England and Wales; highlighting the areas where movers have the most cash freed up from their move
  • Downsizing from a detached home to a semi-detached home across the UK could leave movers with a windfall of £205,157; a figure which has increased by £8,681 since January this year, and £44,226 since 2020
  • Elmbridge in Surrey tops the charts for those looking for the largest equity release when moving from a detached home to a smaller semi-detached, with a difference of over £800,000
  • Other top areas include Woking, Tunbridge Wells, and Northumberland Jackson-Stops estimates that UK downsizers have the potential to release over £594 billion in equity
  • According to its own branch data, the number of downsizer enquiries are now higher than pre-pandemic, having increased by 21% since 2019 (1)

Latest research from national estate agency Jackson-Stops has mapped out the areas of the country which offer the biggest equity release when downsizing across England and Wales. By moving from a detached home to a demi-detached home, movers could be left with a windfall of £205,157 (2); a figure which has increased by £8,681 since January this year alone, and £44,226 since 2020. Potential downsizers make up 24% (3) of all households aged 55 and over, amounting to 2.9 million homes. With baby boomers (4) being the largest proportion of the UK population, Jackson-Stops has estimated that if all potential downsizers decided to make the move, over £594 billion in equity could be released.

Nick Leeming, Chairman of Jackson-Stops, says: “Baby boomers are prominent amongst our housing landscape and hold the key to unlocking property wealth. Many high value areas not only provide the biggest purchasing power for an onward downsizer property, but could also mean significantly more financial agility in the future, and for some, living mortgage free.”

Top 10 areas that give movers the biggest bang for their buck when downsizing
The research looked at which locations provide the biggest price difference proportional to an onward move when going from a detached home with a national average of four bedrooms, to a semi-detached home in the same area, with a national average of three bedrooms. Ranking in first place was Elmbridge in Surrey, a district whose principal towns and villages include Cobham and Weybridge, with an equity windfall of £805,428.

In fact, Surrey ranked twice in the top three spots, as a leading location for those able to get the most equity from their downsize.

Tim Firth, Director of Jackson-Stops Weybridge, explains: “Surrey has hit top of the charts for good reason. The long-term growth of the large family home market here has far superseded that of the apartment and smaller homes market, which means the gap in value can feel enormous and be a hugely lucrative move for any keen downsizers looking to cash in whilst house prices remain buoyant, getting a more manageable sized home in the process.

“Detached homes have always been in such high demand in Surrey, as a melting pot for families and high earners leaving the capital, often their first steppingstone towards the countryside. Families will move here and stay for decades. It’s not like London where postcodes can be much more transient. Older sellers I speak to have been here 30 or 40 years, with established roots and a social life that they don’t want to walk away from in their downsize. They might move just 20 minutes down the road, or to an outlying village, but never too far.

“I am going out and speaking to more downsizers now than I have done all year. I ask them, ‘why now?’; ‘why not when the market peaked just after the pandemic?’, and many will say that they had been considering it for many years, but the prospect of heating and maintaining a vast four or five bed home during an energy crisis had been the push they needed to finally downsize.”

Top 10 based on price difference alone

Excluding London, the top 10 locations which gave buyers the largest sum left over after downsizing from a detached home to a semi-detached were all based in the home counties, with Elmbridge topping the charts again alongside hotspots in Hertfordshire, Kent and Surrey. New entrants on the list, not present in the percentage difference ranking, include Windsor, Guildford and Cambridge, all leaving a healthy £430,000 or more left over from the move.

Price changes over time

Nick Leeming, Chairman of Jackson-Stops, says: “Around 36% (5) of UK properties are owned outright, either as cash purchases or having paid off their mortgage over many years, having been lucky enough to capitalise on the house price boom over the past decade and build substantial equity in their homes. This figure has increased by 21% since 2012 and continues to increase each year.

“However, selling this much-loved asset, often a large, detached family home, is often put off until long after the kids have flown the nest. They might now be facing the prospect of a cold winter ahead, with many rooms completely unused. Downsizing, or rightsizing, can relieve this strain, releasing cash to enjoy life, whilst freeing up housing stock for the next generation of young families to enjoy.”

Jackson-Stops’ own UK branch data shows that the number of downsizer enquiries are now higher than pre-pandemic, having increased by 21% since 2019 (6) , a trend agents think will continue as many homeowners choose to sell now in order to maximise the sale price of their home and release more cash as they downsize.

Nick continues, “We find it a common theme amongst our branches that downsizers choose to stay in the area, with family and close ties still very much at play. The home counties and those close to them are the golden circle for all buyer types, keeping house prices hearty in good times and bad.”


(1) Jackson-Stops branch data tracking year-on-year downsizer enquiries since Oct 2019 to Oct 2022
(2) Jackson-Stops analysis of ONS HPI data for Aug 2022 (
3) Legal & General
(4) ONS
(5) ONS
(6) Jackson-Stops branch data tracking year-on-year downsizer enquiries since Oct 2019 to Oct 2022