On the front page of issue 285 (March 2016) you mention the matter of ‘house hoarding’ by older people whose children have left home, leaving them with houses larger than they need. As you rightly say, there is often no alternative available to them – other than to leave the district and all their friends and the support that they get from them, as they grow older.
I suggest that the problem is in the planning and taxation systems. Whist developers do build small houses, families grow and when more space is needed they often extend their properties. This means that there are then no small houses left in the immediate area for people to move into when they wish to downsize – a problem which you identify in the article. This is because the planning system cannot object to these ‘reasonable’ extensions. Additionally, Stamp Duty exacerbates the costs of moving house.
If the small houses could be left as such, the ‘house hoarding’ elders could move ‘round the corner’ to a smaller property and the growing families could move into the larger house which they vacate and everyone would be happy.
Hunter Willis by email