NEW YORK – Aug. 3, 2015 – Americans traditionally chose to downsize in retirement, but that may no longer be true. A wave of today's retirees decide to upsize and enjoy the best home of their lives in retirement, according to a recent Merrill Lynch and Age Wave retirement study of more than 3,600 respondents. In fact, 65 percent of retirees recently surveyed say they're currently living in the best home of their lives.

Within the next decade, the number of age 65-plus households in the U.S. is expected to bloom by nearly 11 million.

As more Americans move into retirement, they're also looking to move into a new home. The study found that 64 percent of retirees are likely to move at least once during retirement. For retirees who do move, only half have downsized, and many are moving into larger homes, according to the study.

The study showed that 49 percent of retirees didn't downsize in their last move, and 30 percent ended up moving into larger homes. Retirees' top reason for upsizing was a desire for a home large and comfortable enough for family members to visit (33 percent) or even live with them (20 percent). One out of six retirees – 16 percent – said they have a "boomerang" child who moved back in with them.

Nineteen percent of retirees also said they upsized in retirement in order to have a more prestigious home and 16 percent say they wanted a larger home to have more room for friends to visit, according to the study.

For those retirees who did downsize, the majority said their top reasons for choosing a smaller home was to have greater freedom from financial and maintenance burdens.

Source: "Home in Retirement: More Freedom, New Choices," Merrill Lynch (July 2015)

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