Extra care housing aims to meet the housing, care and support needs of older people, while helping them to maintain their independence in their own private accommodation. In 2003, the Department of Health announced capital funding to support the development of extra care housing, and made the receipt of funding conditional on participating in an evaluative study. Drawing on information collected directly from residents in 19 schemes, this paper presents findings on the factors motivating older people to move to extra care housing, their expectations of living in this new environment, and whether these differ for residents moving to the smaller schemes or larger retirement villages. In total, 949 people responded, 456 who had moved into the smaller schemes and 493 into the villages. Of the residents who moved into the villages most (75%) had not received a care assessment prior to moving in, and had no identified care need. There was evidence that residents with care needs were influenced as much by some of the attractions of their new living environment as those without care needs who moved to the retirement villages. The most important attractions of extra care housing for the vast majority of residents were: tenancy rights, flexible onsite care and support, security offered by the scheme and accessible living arrangements. The results suggest that, overall, residents with care needs seem to move proactively when independent living was proving difficult rather than when staying put is no longer an option. A resident's level of dependency did not necessarily influence the importance attached to various push and/or pull factors. This is a more positive portrayal of residents’ reasons for moving to smaller schemes than in previous UK literature, although moves did also relate to residents’ increasing health and mobility problems. In comparison, type of tenure and availability of social/leisure facilities were more often identified as important by those without care needs in the villages. Therefore, as in other literature, the moves of village residents without care needs seemed to be planned ones mostly towards facilities and in anticipation of the need for care services in the future.