A recent article in the Daily Telegraph looked at why older people don’t wish to downsize in their later years. The article highlighted some of the main obstacles, such as a lack of appealing smaller homes, the expense of moving, including stamp duty, and no decent bank savings rates to provide an adequate return from any extra money left over from a house sale.
Retired people in the UK currently own a third of the nation’s housing stock. Enabling them to downsize would free up much needed family houses and give them the opportunity to release their capital, invest in their future and enjoy their retirement, living in housing that meets all their future needs.
We believe there is a simple answer to the current housing shortage and that is for older people to consider downsizing to a purpose built retirement property and renting on an assured tenancy. Choosing to rent in ones later years is a sensible solution and one which thousands of Girlings’ tenants can recommend.
Equally, if older people downsize it will free up much needed family housing for people further down the ladder. The latest statistics from the Home Builders Federation state that we are still some way off the 220- 250,000 new houses that are needed to be built per year to satisfy current demand.
The sale of a larger family home enables older people to downsize into property which is more suitable for their needs (so it is crucial that suitable property is available) and also frees up capital which can be invested to provide an income; gifted to relatives or used to enjoy a better quality of life.
The provision of an assured (‘lifetime’) tenancy removes any obstacle to renting by providing the peace of mind that people can live in their new home for as long as they wish. Furthermore, should circumstances alter in the future there is not the frustration of trying to sell a retirement property in an uncertain market and the ensuing worry for family and friends.
Our continuing message to government is that the UK desperately needs more purpose built retirement property so that older people have the option to downsize. Today, less than 3% of housing in the pipeline is aimed at older people and yet, in 20 years’ time, those aged 65 or over will make up 23% of the population.
Many older people are stuck in homes that are too big for them, have little choice of a suitable alternative and perceive the obstacles to enjoying a better quality of life in their later years are insurmountable. There is another option….