UK Housing Market Has Hurt 300,000 Elderly Homeowners

In the United Kingdom (UK), there are some 300,000 elderly and older folks (defined as 65+ years) who own homes and do not have their needs met.

According to Savills Housing Consultancy, those older than 65 possess 43 percent of housing wealth in the UK.  The problem is that it is not equitably in evidence. The research found that around 40 percent of those aged 65+ are homeowners who have the ability to downsize properties and still have as much as a £50k holdover.

But those who have the least, representing about 35 percent of the elderly populace, is housed in sheltered or rented in places to live handled by so-called “social landlords,” housing associations, or local authorities.

Yet there are 25 percent in this age range who are, in the words of Savills, in the “squeezed middle.”  Because of this, they are stuck because they cannot pay for the newly built housing on account of it usually being costly, but also do not desire to be involved in social housing run by social landlords or they do not qualify for it.

As a result, the family home is where they stay instead of downsizing unless they are pushed out by money or health difficulties.

While they could rent “local sheltered” housing and not buy it, such accommodations are found to be unattractive or just old.

While there are places like New Forest and St. Albans in the UK that have a housing need that is greater than the available units, Savills research found an across the board excess of 140,000 rented, sheltered homes.

Savills posits that this brings forth a chance for social landlords to update these properties, making them into shared ownership housing.  This way, those who are “middle squeezed” owners of their homes could downsize into a more palatable home and also give forth cash to their pension accounts.

“The housing market is failing to meet the needs of older people,” according to the head of Savills Housing Consultancy, Helen Collins. “Unsurprisingly, older homeowners will only move to a home that ticks all their boxes, unless ill health necessitates a move.”

She continued, stating that, ‘housing associations have the experience and capacity to develop new retirement housing options to meet the needs of those who don’t have the equity to downsize in the open market.

“A new retirement living shared ownership product could be a way to meet needs and free up much-needed family housing,” Collins concluded.

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