The number British people renting in their middle‑age has doubled over the last ten years.
Pressures on living standards through stagnant wages for many people over the last 20 years, and rising property prices, are having their effects and bringing about structural changes in the housing market for both young and old.
Over 25% of those in their late thirties and early forties are now renting and there is a definite trend which sees older people selling up and going into rental accommodation.
The Office for National Statistics and the National Centre for Social Research annual Family Resources Survey concluded that this trend in the decline in the number of people who can afford to buy their own home was a significant one, which began before the recession of 2008.
Although the study shows that more people now own their homes outright (mortgage free) than did 10 years ago, there is increasing evidence of older people opting for renting in retirement, and there is an increasing likelihood that people wll look to ways of raising equity from their homes.
In Quarter 1, 2018 the Key Retirement Equity Release Market Monitor report shows the highest recorded first quarter result both for equity release new plan numbers and total lending. This trend is a continuation of the growth experienced year-on-year though 2017.
The average equity release loan amount increased slightly over the period from £73,609 to £74,048 and money drawdown remains the most popular type of plan, with the average age for those releasing equity falling marginally from 72 in Q1 2017 to 71 today.
Gifting (Bank of Mum and Dad) is a major motivation for those releasing equity from their homes and the numbers and percentages gifting have increased year on year. The main reasons for gifting vary widely but the more popular ones are: house purchase, university / school fees, paying down debt, divorce, holidays.
Paula Higgins, of the HomeOwners Alliance support group, told the Daily Mail:
“People are stretched to the limit and have insecure wages.
“When they split up, a couple can’t each buy a property in the same area that lets them share the children.
“The danger of all this is the social inequality it will create between the haves, who are homeowners, and the have-nots.’
A major report by The Resolution Foundation think-tank release recently has proposed some quite radical measures to address these inter-generational shifts in fortune. The most radical of these proposals is to strip the older generation of wealth to help the young.
This would, according to the Foundation’s reasoning, include rent controls, building more cheap housing, and a one-off benefit payment of £10,000 to all those at 25.