Posts with tag: older homeowners

RICS Urges Government to Help Older People Move House

Published On: September 24, 2015 at 11:58 am


Categories: Landlord News

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The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) has urged the Government to help older people downsize in order to solve Britain’s housing crisis.

Elderly homeowners that have paid off their mortgage but now under-occupy their properties have been in the news recently.

Earlier in the week, it was reported that Lynda Blackwell, Head of Mortgages at the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) said older homeowners that “sit quite happily in a very big house”1 should be encouraged to downsize.

The FCA responded, saying it is not its policy to make older homeowners move house. Read more here: /fca-says-its-not-policy-to-get-older-people-to-move-home/

RICS Urges Government to Help Older People Move House

RICS Urges Government to Help Older People Move House

Elderly homeowners who do wish to downsize say that they are often prevented from moving because they have left it too late, they cannot face the prospect of moving house, or the cost of retirement housing is too high.

Now, the RICS has joined the discussion, stating that if older people want to move they should receive support from the Government to do so.

In its residential policy review, the RICS urged the Government to help older people who wish to downsize. It says the measure could release £820 billion of property assets, or 2.6m family homes.

It adds that all new build developments should include a compulsory proportion of affordable rental accommodation and that second-homeowners should be encouraged to sell their properties or put them up for long-term tenancies.

Head of Policy at the RICS, Jeremy Blackburn, says: “Britain’s older homeowners are understandably reluctant to move out of much-loved but often under-occupied family homes.

“Clearly it’s an emotive issue and one that needs to be treated with sensitivity, but we would like to see central and local government provide older people with the information and the practical and financial support they need to downsize if that is their choice.”

He suggests: “This might include offering a fund to support with moving costs – Bristol City Council is already piloting a great scheme along these lines – or perhaps a Stamp Duty discount.

“Almost a third of over 55s have considered downsizing in the last five years, yet we know that only 7% actually did. Greater support for those looking to move could release 2.6m family homes.”

He explains the need for more homes: “The most consistent feature of the housing market over the last 18 months has been a distinct shortage of new sales instructions. Average stock levels on surveyors’ books have dropped to lows not seen for at least three decades.

“If we are to get to grips with this country’s housing crisis, we need to look at supply-led measures across Government and the wider industry in order to get the market moving.”1 

In a blog on the Council of Mortgage Lenders’ website, Sue Anderson writes: “The real debate is about how to address the current lack of (perceived) choice for older homeowners who would like to move, but feel they can’t.

“No one, as far as we know, is suggesting that older homeowners should be forced or guilt-tripped into doing anything they don’t want to do.”

Read more of the blog here:

Earlier in the year, Legal & General also published a report on the issue, which can be found here:


FCA Says it’s Not Policy to Get Older People to Move Home

Published On: September 22, 2015 at 1:25 pm


Categories: Landlord News

Tags: ,,,,

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has stated that it is not its policy to encourage older people to move home, after a member of its mortgages team said the UK has a “real issue with the last time buyer” at a recent conference.

Lynda Blackwell, from the City regulator, said that the Government’s focus on first time buyers might be misdirected.

She explained: “We’ve got a big supply issue in this country. There’s a lot of questions about whether it is right that the Government should focus on the first time buyer when we’ve got a real issue with the last time buyer.

“There’s older borrowers who basically pay off their mortgage and sit quite happily in a very big house.”1 

Her statement was made during a panel discussion on the housing shortage. It provoked a strong reaction from Saga, which described the comments as unhelpful and insulting.

FCA Says it's Not Policy to Get Older People to Move Home

FCA Says it’s Not Policy to Get Older People to Move Home

An FCA spokesperson said: “These comments, which were made as part of a panel discussion at a trade body event, do not represent FCA policy.

“Last week, we published a range of materials as part of a conference on the mortgage market organised by the FCA. That conference covered a wide range of issues concerning the mortgage market, including older homeowners.”1 

Director of Communications at Saga, which represents older people’s interests, Paul Green, responded to the remarks: “If people have saved and paid for their house over their working lives, it’s down to them if they want to fill it with family or live on their own, but setting the generations against each other or talking about ‘tackling older homeowners’ is not just unhelpful, it’s insulting.”

However, he did acknowledge that looking across the market could help first time buyers.

“First time buyer scheme for the young are a good start, but we need to consider incentives to help encourage those that would like to move, to take that step,” he said. “The FCA are right, we definitely need to do more and do it better, but using divisive language will only alienate the very people we need to help and encourage.”1 

Although the shortage of new homes is the main cause of the affordability crisis, which is pricing first time buyers out of the market, the lack of existing properties being put up for sale is also an issue.

Recent data from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) shows that the number of homes for sale is at a record low, contrasting to a rise in the amount of hopeful buyers.

At an event on the London rental sector, Christine Whitehead, Professor of Housing at the London School of Economics, said the ageing population is one of the key issues in the capital’s housing market.

“We are now housing four generations rather than three and we have not addressed that right across the board,” she stated. “The result is that those who have to get into the market are being excluded by people like me who live too long.”1

Chief Economist at the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML), Bob Pannell, says that the UK has “an ageing population that holds a disproportionately large amount of national housing assets.”

Statistics show that older people are more likely to under-occupy homes, but Pannell adds that they are also often “reluctant or unable to move to homes that might better suit their needs”2.

He adds that encouraging more activity across the whole market could cause better use of existing properties and the marketability of new homes.

A CML spokesperson insists: “No one is suggesting that anyone should be forced to do anything they don’t want to do, however, there may be ways to remove the barriers that people who wish to move face.”1

She says some homeowners who would like to move have found that after Stamp Duty and other costs, they would end up out of pocket by selling up.

Saga’s research reveals that two-thirds of older homeowners would consider moving house for retirement, but they are prevented by the lack of suitable properties or the cost.