Over 65s Less Likely To Downsize From Family Home

According to the Centre for the Study of Financial Innovation’s (CSFI) ‘Too Little, Too Late? Housing for an ageing population‘ report, not enough is being done to help the older generation downsize their home in their retirement years.

According to the report, two-thirds of the UK’s 15 million surplus bedrooms are in homes that are occupied by people over the age of 65.

As a result of this, it has been predicted by the Associated Retirement Community Operators, that the number of surplus bedrooms in the UK will exceed 20million in 20 years time. 60% of these surplus bedrooms will be in homes occupied by those who are over 65 years-of-age.

Of the new homes built each year, only 7,000 are built for the over 65s in mind. As we continue to become an ageing population it is predicted that each year another 180,000 65 and over households will be created.

The CSFI report, made a number of recommendations to the Government, imploring the to help promote the benefit of downsizing, providing incentives to the over 65s to take this step before they require social care.

One recommendation made in the report, suggests a reduction in stamp duty for downsizers.

Another urges Ministers whose remit cover health and housing needs for older people to work together and create a joined up strategy to benefit that demographic’s needs both now and in the future.

Jim Boyd, Chief Executive of the Equity Release Council, said:

 “We welcome the CSFI’s report and have long called for ways for government to better support downsizing.

“This will give people in later life more choice when they consider how best to plan their lives in retirement.

“This choice is important as the report recognises that many wish to downsize when they reach retirement but have limited options.

“It also recognises that over-65s often choose to continue living in their existing homes.

“Our research suggests many homeowners want to live in their property for as long as they can in later life, and often share that home with multiple generations.

“Many want to keep on living in the communities which are so important to them, and where they have strong associations and memories.”

“Looking ahead, flexible home finance options that unlock property wealth have the potential to transform the UK’s existing housing stock to improve carbon efficiency levels by encouraging retrofitting and making green home improvements.

“Providing access to ‘green equity release’ products would help people unlock cash to fund energy efficient improvements and retrofit properties to meet environmental as well as care-related needs.

“Finally, we support the call for a more joined-up approach between government departments dealing with housing and health for older people. “We believe there should be a minister for the elderly who can ensure broader social and financial issues are co-ordinated across all policy areas that impact our ageing population.”

Nigel Wilson, Chief Executive of Legal & General said:

“Our housing stock needs to work for everybody.

“People of all ages need more supply of housing and better choices, whether they are trying to accommodate a growing family, looking to rightsize to a healthy and safe later living environment, or indeed to retrofit their existing home.

“We know there is strong demand for the right sort of housing for later life living, with great design, supportive communities and good access to friends, family and facilities.

“Housing policy now needs to catch up with the demands and opportunities of our ageing demographic: getting this right has benefits for everyone.”

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