More than half-a-million homeowners aged over 55 have been unable to move due to a lack of suitable housing, new research has claimed. Almost twenty per cent of homeowners at retirement age have considered moving since 2014 but have not done so, with downsizing to a smaller property cited as the biggest driver.
According to the report, compiled by consumer group the HomeOwners Alliance and BLP Insurance, almost a quarter said a lack of suitable housing was the main reason why they had not done so. This equates to more than 500,000 people across the UK and, due to expected the surge in our older population, will only grow further unless urgent action is taken to build more retirement homes.
Retirees considered that a ‘suitable home’ needed to be of a good-quality build, have adequate parking and be close to amenities, with good transport links. Older homeowners also considered that low running costs, spacious rooms and a good-sized garden as important.
Critics have suggested that millions of pensioners remaining in large family homes need to downsize to help tackle the nation’s housing shortage.
But while many are understandably reluctant to leave their long-term family home, even those who would like to move struggle to find the right place.
Russell Baldwin, Managing Director of Silverbridge Properties, said:
“The issues highlighted by this survey are symptomatic of the state of the UK housing market. Today’s retirees want to live in properties more suited to the needs of older living but, due to lack of choice and availability, are being forced to remain in homes that are too large and require more upkeep than they can manage”.
“To keep up with the demand, there needs to be better collaboration between central and local government, as well as planners and the specialist developers to make the building retirement housing far easier and more plentiful than is currently the case”.