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Do the elderly move at the right time?
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Real Estate and Construction Management, Building and Real Estate Economics. Högskolan i Gärvle.
2013 (English)Licentiate thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

For many years the policy in Sweden has been to help the elderly to stay in their current homes as long as possible. Is this a good policy for the elderly and is this a good policy from a welfare perspective? The study focused on two aspects of the moving pattern for the elderly. Are the household staying in their current home because it is optimal from the household’s point of view or because there is some kind of transaction cost? Is the optimal solution for the household also the best option for the society as a whole concerning moving chains for all age categories?

This study was carried out in Gävle, a medium sized city of approximately 70 000 inhabitants about 100 km north of Stockholm. The housing market is in general in equilibrium and the prices are about the average for the Swedish housing market which makes Gävle an interesting case. Gävle has also a tradition of researchers active within the housing sector. As an introduction to the main questionnaire study a pilot study was carried out during 2011 focusing on managers and persons living at nursing home in Gävle. The questions were focusing on transaction costs that may arise while moving when you are older. Five managers were interviewed and 18 persons living at different nursing homes.

As an alternative to moving to some kind of elderly living, the elderly can get various kinds of home service for a reduced fee. This means that it is important to separate the question “is the elderly moving to a smaller dwelling (downsizing) at the "right" time?” and the question “are they moving to some kind of elderly living at the "right" time?” As the pilot study showed that the decision to move to elderly living in the form of nursing home often is made by social authorities the focus was shifted to those considering downsizing within the ordinary housing sector. In total 1000 questionnaires was sent out to households in the age group 65-85 year within the ordinary housing sector, out of which 660 answered.

The study has only covered the information aspect to a minor extent, but if a person is satisfied with their current situation, as most households were, it should be lack of incentives rather than lack of information that is that prohibits the move, except for the oldest categories. Concerning the tax system, the study does not indicate that this is something that prohibits the elderly from moving, but this conclusion may depend on the price level of dwellings and it is therefore hard to generalize. Even if the tax system is not a problem, the concern for the monthly expenses is more of a problem. The monthly expenses may increase while downsizing because this may mean a newer and therefore more expensive dwelling. As the social network decreases with age and the health may deteriorate it may be possible to influence especially single-person households over 80 year that live in 3-5 room. Here direct subsidies to downsize and help to find better alternatives – like in U.K - might help elderly to go through with a move.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2013. , 89 p.
, Trita-FOB. Lic, 2013:3
National Category
Building Technologies Economics
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-121193ISBN: 978-91-85783-30-4OAI: diva2:617422
2013-05-07, V1, Teknikringen 76, 1 tr, KTH, Stockholm, 13:00 (Swedish)

QC 20130423

Available from: 2013-04-23 Created: 2013-04-23 Last updated: 2013-04-23Bibliographically approved

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Licentiate thesis(1525 kB)573 downloads
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