Law News

Call to help ‘Generation Stuck’ get moving on the property ladder

Em Morley - August 29, 2019

New research has found that over four in ten over-65s (44%) believe that the Government should be doing more to encourage older people (‘Generation Stuck’) to downsize. 

This is equal to almost 5.3 million people, according to McCarthy & Stone, who carried out the research in conjunction with YouGov.

The UK developer and manager of retirement communities believes that it would help address the housing crisis, where a sluggish secondary market and the costs associated with moving are making it difficult for ‘Generation Stuck’ to move. 

If the Government were to help older people to move, this could free up housing for younger generations, it points out.

McCarthy & Stone’s research also found that of those who believe the Government should be doing more, a Stamp Duty exemption to help older people downsize was the most popular solution. 61% of those aged over 65 in this group agreed with this (over 3.2 million people).

59% think that the Government should encourage the development of more specialist retirement housing, while 52% would like them to encourage the development of more bungalows.

Table 1: Of those who believe the Government should be doing more, this is what they would like to see

 PercentEqual to
A stamp duty exemption to help older people downsize61%3.2m
Encourage the development of more retirement housing to downsize to59%3.1m
Encourage the development of more bungalows52%2.7m
A stamp duty exemption for moving into a purpose-built retirement property40%2.1m
Provide more information and help on housing options in later life36%1.9m
None of the above2%105,500

Source: McCarthy & Stone/ YouGov survey 2019

McCarthy & Stone highlights that the cost of stamp duty for a £300,000 property for someone who is not a first-time buyer and doesn’t own any other property is £5,000. As the tax is also paid by other purchasers in the chain, it also restricts the wider market.

Almost one in five of all over-65s involved with the research say that a Stamp Duty exemption for older people downsizing would make them more likely to move. This is equal to almost 2.2 million people. Such an incentive could have a significant impact on helping the current situation in the housing market.

John Tonkiss, Chief Executive of McCarthy & Stone, commented: “This research shows overwhelming support among older people for reforming Stamp Duty to encourage downsizing.

“This would help Generation Stuck – those over-65s who want to downsize but can’t – and also release millions of homes suitable for young people and families. Plus it would provide a net benefit to the Treasury’s coffers from the increased numbers of housing transactions created.”

McCarthy & Stone is calling on the Government to introduce a Help to Move package, which includes a Stamp Duty exemption for older people looking to downsize.

This would not only allow over-65s to live in comfortable, safe accommodation more suited to their needs in later life but also to free up existing housing stock that can be used by first-time buyers and young families. The initial loss in tax income would be offset by additional Stamp Duty payments fromthe new chains created.