Creating more homes for last time buyers could be the key to solving Britain’s housing crisis, says a Legal & General report.
There are currently 3.3m homeowners aged 55 or over who are looking to downsize, reveals research conducted by the firm.
Homes for Last Time Buyers Could Solve the Housing Crisis
The report, titled Last Time Buyers, suggests that if more purpose-built accommodation was available for older people, larger homes would be freed up for younger families to move into.
The report states: “These last time buyers are sitting on £820 billion of property wealth and 7.7m spare bedrooms. The equivalent to 2.6m family homes, this represents ten years of housing supply based on Government targets, or 20 years based on the current housing completions.
“Freeing up this housing stock will provide a powerful tool for addressing the housing crisis, reducing overcrowding, boosting the UK economy and bringing benefits across the property market.
“Given the size of the numbers involved, it is surprising how little attention has been paid to older buyers, even though this group is often open to the possibility of downsizing.
“By failing to target this key demographic with good value, purpose-built housing for those aged 55+, Government and industry alike may be missing an important trick.
“Not only will this type of housing give them a better quality of life, but it will also help to release additional funds for their retirement.”
The report continues that while around one third of older homeowners considered downsizing in the last five years, just 7% actually did. Many do not wish to downsize, with 58% saying that they will wait until they’re over 70-years-old.
The report also found that while 3.3m people over the age of 55 are looking to downsize, the amount of 20-34-year-olds still living with their parents has risen by a quarter in two decades, to over 3.3m.
According to the latest Census, there are 1m properties considered too small for the number of occupants, and housing charity Shelter has found that one in four children in London live in overcrowded homes.
The report concludes: “Encouraging last time buyers to move into purpose-built accommodation (without steep staircases, for example) could have a major impact on figures like these, yet there is simply not enough of this type of accommodation available.”1