Last Time Buyers Could Help Solve the Housing Crisis, But Properties Aren’t Available
By |Published On: 20th July 2016|

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Last Time Buyers Could Help Solve the Housing Crisis, But Properties Aren’t Available

By |Published On: 20th July 2016|

This article is an external press release originally published on the Landlord News website, which has now been migrated to the Just Landlords blog.

Last time buyers could help solve the nation’s housing crisis by moving to smaller homes, but properties are simply not available, according to new research.

Over the past two years, more than 500,000 homeowners aged 55 or over have had to scrap their plans of moving house due to a lack of suitable properties, says a report from the HomeOwners Alliance.

Almost one in five (19%) homeowners aged 55+ have considered moving since 2014 but have not done so, found the study by YouGov on behalf of the HomeOwners Alliance and BLP Insurance.

Of these, almost one in four (23%) said that a lack of suitable housing was the main reason why they had not moved house. This equates to over 500,000 people across the UK.

Last Time Buyers Could Help Solve the Housing Crisis, But Properties Aren't Available

Last Time Buyers Could Help Solve the Housing Crisis, But Properties Aren’t Available

The report believes that these so-called last time buyers could help ease the housing crisis in the UK. If older homeowners living in homes that are under-occupied moved to smaller properties, more housing stock would be released to first time buyers and second steppers. There are approximately 11.4m homeowners aged 55 or over in the UK.

According to the latest homeowner survey, 6% of homeowners aged 55+ say they have moved in the past two years, and a further 19% have considered moving but have not done so – the equivalent of more than two million homeowners.

A lack of suitable homes is the main reason for older homeowners deciding to stay put, with 23% of those aged 55+ who considered a move saying that this is the primary reason for not moving.

The study also found that emotional ties, rather than financial concerns, are a significant barrier to moving in later life. The stress and upheaval of moving is more likely to be among the reasons not to move for those aged 55 or over who considered a move (30% versus 21% of homeowners overall). Additionally, older homeowners are more likely to not want to move away from friends, neighbours and their community (23% vs. 17%), whereas property prices are less likely to be a barrier (22% vs. 31%).

When thinking about a future move, top priorities are similar for all homeowners, regardless of age. Spaciousness of rooms (72%), good build quality (71%) and parking (69%) top the list across all age ranges.

However, compared with UK homeowners generally, a greater proportion of those aged 55+ identify availability of parking (77% vs. 69%), low running costs (70% vs. 59%), proximity of shops (66% vs. 55%), good transport links (56% vs. 47%) and living on one level (36% vs. 24%) as important criteria for their next home.

When considering a new build home as an option, older homeowners consider new builds to be particularly low on running costs, but less likely to deliver on spaciousness of rooms, the amount of available green space and providing living on one level. They believe that being close to amenities and good transport links are also less typical of new build homes.

The CEO of the HomeOwners Alliance, Paula Higgins, comments on the findings: “The recent Brexit decision means we are now in the midst of uncertain times, and new housing is likely to be a victim. Government needs to focus efforts on negotiating a European exit, but they must not drop the ball in delivering new housing that meets the needs of last time buyers. Housebuilders can’t be allowed to sit on their hands and land bank. The Government needs to keep them building and building homes that meet the needs of last time buyers as well as first time buyers.”

The CEO of BLP Insurance, Kim Vernau, adds: “The issues highlighted by this survey that face last time buyers are as acute as those issues encountered by first time buyers. If we wish to provide the required quality of housing that addresses these concerns, we desperately need an appropriate mix of well-designed homes alongside adequate local infrastructure to help address the current housing shortage.”

About the Author: Em Morley (she/they)

Em is the Content Marketing Manager for Just Landlords, with over five years of experience writing for insurance and property websites. Together with the knowledge and expertise of the Just Landlords underwriting team, Em aims to provide those in the property industry with helpful resources. When she’s not at her computer researching and writing property and insurance guides, you’ll find her exploring the British countryside, searching for geocaches.

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