New research points to a significant rise in the number of older renters due to what is thought to be the result of the “silver splitter” phenomenon.
14,000 home insurance customers surveyed by GfK Financial found that one-third of over-50s now rent, compared with only 26 per cent five years ago. But the insurance company discovered that the number of widowers renting has fallen by 10 per cent in the last five years, in what Saga the travel and financial services specialist for the over-50s speculated could be the result of remarriage or moving in with family.
The challenges facing young people are exacerbated by this trend as demand for rental property, particularly one and two-bed accommodation is spiralling. “Generation Rent” has left the young struggling to get onto the housing ladder as scarcity of starter properties and stricter mortgages criteria have made it more and more difficult. At the same time, rent increases due to housing shortages, in the face of increased demand, have made it more difficult to save for a deposit as a higher proportion of wages goes on rent payments.
According to Saga the “silver splitting” generation, where “empty nester” older couples are leaving comfortable homes in increasing numbers, to face insecurity later in life. The research discovered that the over-50s living in rented accommodation typically have £20,000 worth of personal belongings, with 60% of them having no tenant contents insurance cover.
The Daily Telegraph says that the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics state that 34,560 couples, where the husband was aged 50 plus, ended their marriage in England and Wales in 2013. This is shows a 44 per cent increase for the age group on 20 years ago, whereas the total number of divorces in England and Wales fell by 30 per cent overall.
Roger Ramsdell, chief executive of Saga Services, told the Daily Telegraph:
“Social changes certainly seem to be having an impact on the homes of the over-50s. It is concerning that so many do not have insurance for their belongings. Whilst the landlord has responsibility for repairing the building should anything happen, they are not responsible for replacing valued possessions should they for example be damaged by fire or even a significant water leak”
More than 25% of over 50s going through a divorce sell the family home according to research from Nationwide Mortgages. Of these around 13% downsize and 8% move into rented accommodation, according to the survey.
Over half (58%) of the “silver splitters” said their break-up left them worse off, whereas nearly one-third (31%) of women said their divorce had left them struggling financially. This compares with less than a quarter (23%) of men. Conversely, 18% of men claimed to be better off financially, which compares to 13% of women in this position.
Divorce drives rise in renting for over 50s https://t.co/h9VSTAQjZi
— LandlordZONE (@LandlordZONE) July 15, 2016