The massive wealth of owners over 55 has been revealed by a new survey.
They own £938 billion of UK housing, a figure that will reach the £1 trillion mark this year according to research from consultancy CEBR and Legal & General, a major Build To Rent operator which now owns a retirement community developer.
The report looks at what L&G calls ‘last time buyers’ - a category which it describes as consisting of over-55s who have homes that are apparently too large for their needs.
It says there are now 3.1m LTB households in the UK with the number of homeowners who have considered downsizing rising from 32 per cent to 39 per cent in the past three years. This demonstrates “the demand for better later living options for over 55s” says L&G.
The research goes on to says that the UK has “a chronic undersupply of age-specific properties” with only 7,000 homes delivered to this sector last year making it the most under-supplied area of the housing market.
Legal & General’s research shows that of the LTBs who had considered downsizing in the last five years but didn’t, 49 per cent said it was because there were no suitable properties available, with a further 29 per cent stating that the properties that were suitable were too expensive.
“Last Time Buyers account for more than a quarter of the total number of households aged over 55. This report highlights the crucial role they could play in unlocking the wider UK housing market, further demonstrating the need for government to recognise this sector through key policy changes” claims Phil Bayliss, head of later living at Legal & General.
“If rightsizers were able to move to a property more aligned to their desired lifestyle and needs, vast swathes of homes would be freed up for growing families and second steppers. This, when matched by the huge health benefits proven to come from age appropriate housing, such as a 50 per cent reduction in GP visits and 40 per cent reduction in NHS spend, means that increasing the number of properties available to these buyers is the most efficient way to help solve the UK’s housing crisis and spiralling NHS costs linked to our ageing population.”
The L&G report also says that 45 per cent of LTBs have lived in their home for 30 years or more, and 29 per cent still live in the first property they ever bought.
Just 17 per cent of LTB households have lived in their property for under 10 years.
Some 45 per cent live in a detached house and more than seven in 10 have no one in the household in full time work - the average weekly income for a LTB household is £632.