Pensioners struggling to downsize leave 7.7 million spare rooms unused
The older residents of the UK are struggling to find suitable housing to downsize to leaving them stuck living in properties that have an overall worth of £820 billion. Research carried out by Legal and General and the Centre for Economic and Business Research highlight that the lack of suitable homes is leaving a mammoth 7.7 million spare bedrooms unused.
Only 2% of the current housing market is designed with pensioners in mind and almost a third of homeowners aged over 55 that have considered downsizing, only 7% have managed to do so.
Nigel Wilson, Chief Executive of Legal and General says:
“There’s an increasing recognition, not least among the last-time buyers themselves, that there isn’t enough supply.”
This is currently 3.3 million UK residents aged 55 and over wanting to downsize, research states that if they all found suitable properties it would free up 18% of the country’s property market. This movement would also have the potential to fill 35% of under occupied homes.
This study also suggests that 4 million of the under occupied homes are in city and town areas. This has driven Nigel Wilson to call upon government and property groups to build suitable retirement properties and introduce tax breaks to encourage the older generation to downsize. He states:
“Expanding housing supply, productivity and diversity for older people can help ensure that everyone can enjoy independence, dignity and a high quality of life over the whole of our lives.”
With the recently elected Conservative party promising to introduce several policies to encourage house building, it is uncertain whether the problem faced by the shortfall of suitable retirement properties is going to be solved in the future, leaving millions of UK homes under occupied.