The recent publishing of retirement housebuilder McCarthy & Stone’s third annual Retirement Confidence Index (RCI), produced in conjunction with YouGov and which saw a nationally representative sample of 3,000 UK adults aged over 65 and 700 adults aged under 30 surveyed, has certainly made for some interesting reading.
Indeed, many are even claiming that it highlights that the over 65s hold the key to unlocking the housing crisis and actually boosting younger people's chances of owning a home.
The survey certainly highlights that both generations wish to move along the housing ladder, with younger people wanting to take their first steps onto it and the older generation looking to get off and downsize.
Additionally, both generations believe that there needs to be greater emphasis placed on building suitable housing for older people as there is emphasis on building starter homes for first-time buyers.
Certainly, both generations are keen to move, however a limited amount of suitable housing for both groups is making them part of “generation stuck.’ Indeed, the survey highlights that over a third (35%) of adults aged 65 and over would consider moving, which represents 4.1m pensioners. Plus, 22% of older people would also consider a specialist retirement property, this amounts to 2.6m people, however just c.162,000 retirement properties have ever been built for older homeowners.
The impact of the situation is really driven home when you consider that if all those potential downsizers were to move, this would equate to more than 2 million bedrooms becoming available to the market.
Plus, as the average amount over 65s expect to release by downsizing is £88,813, if all 4.1m considering moving did so, it would free up more than £364 billion of housing that could be used for families and younger people.
The research also shows that so many young people’s dreams of getting onto the housing ladder are reliant on financial assistance from family. In fact, 51% of under 30s in the survey said they would need money from the bank of mum and dad or gran and granddad to purchase a house. This makes it even more paramount to them that the older generation can downsize and free up the equity tied up in their homes and pass it on to them.
Commenting on the publication of the survey McCarthy & Stone said they were disappointed to see very little reference to housing for older people in the revised National Planning Policy Framework, published on 24 July 2018. They went on to add that they understand that the Government guidance on housing for older people will follow in the Autumn and urges the Government to consider each of the points mentioned above to drastically improve the supply of suitable housing options.
Above all else there needs to be changes made to increase the supply of suitable housing options for older people. This could include a one-off stamp duty exemption for older people when downsizing or moving into retirement housing and a reform of the planning system to encourage greater development in this sector.