With more people living longer and ageing with much better health than ever before, those aged 55 and over are playing a key part in the national economy. Recent research from SunLife has surveyed this age group and found that nearly half would sell up in order to fund a more jet-set lifestyle.

Recent data from the Office of National Statistics has shown that the proportion of those aged 65 and over will rise by 5% over the next thirty years, with greater economic contributions coming from this group as the years progress. For those currently 55 and over, SunLife questioned 1,000 homeowners with a big choice; if they had the option between staying in their family home but never holidaying away from the UK again, or downsizing and then using the cash for foreign holidays which would they choose?

Interestingly, nearly 50% said that they would downsize (44%) in order to enjoy a jet-set lifestyle in their later years – what this does suggest, however, is that 56% would not be prepared to sell their family home. The research has shown that as we get older, the more attached we become to our properties; with those in the 65-80 group voting overwhelmingly to keep their property at the expense of not holidaying again.

Of course, as we get older the inclination to travel could decline as we may be less mobile or find the appeal of travelling for long periods less attractive than in our younger years, which could explain the growing desire to stay-put as we age.

Simon Stanney, equity release director at SunLife said: “Our Home Sentiment research shows that foreign holidays are clearly very important to over 55s, with 44% prepared to downsize in order to be able to go on holiday abroad.

But equally, we can see people are really tied to their homes because even when money isn’t an issue, many would choose to stay where they are. It is clearly a tough choice, but maybe it is one over 55s don’t have to make.

Equity release allows homeowners over 55 to release some of the value from their home without having to move. The money released can be spent on anything they like – including holidays.”

As Stanney indicates, equity release is being utilised by many people and with attractive rates available in the lending marketplace, remortgaging is proving to be extremely popular.