Pensioners sitting on property goldmine need somewhere to buy

Turn that frown upside down: retirees are low on places to move to

Turn that frown upside down: retirees are low on places to move to - Credit: Getty Images

An increase in properties designed specifically for retirees would unlock many of the housing market’s woes – according to a retirement home builder.

McCarthy & Stone’s inaugural Retirement Confidence Index says that over 65s in the East of England are sitting on a property goldmine, with a total of £152 billion of housing wealth – 98 per cent of which is unmortgaged.

Of particular interest is that 33 per cent of those aged 65-plus in the region are considering downsizing, equating to 390,000 people. Should they proceed, this would release homes with a combined value of around £50 billion. Trouble is, many of their current owners don’t have anywhere to go.

McCarthy & Stone CEO Clive Fenton says there is a “chronic under-supply” of suitable retirement housing, so he’s calling for a stamp duty exemption for older people looking to downsize, plus greater Government support in planning to boost the supply of retirement housebuilding.

Clive points out that the number of UK residents aged 85 and over is expected to more than double in the next 20 years to 3.2 million, while it’s anticipated that the number of 65 and overs will go up by more than half to 17.2 million.

He adds: “Unfortunately, the UK’s housing stock is woefully unprepared for this demographic shift to the ‘extended middle age’, and this has created a new ‘Generation Stuck’ dilemma.

“With greater retirement choices, we would be able to improve the lives of older people, release millions of under-occupied family-sized homes onto local markets, stimulate housing chains and help younger people move up the ladder.”

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Out with the old, in with the new? We’ll have to wait and see.