I’ve read so many articles regarding the housing shortage in the UK. Reports that suggest more elderly people moving out of their ‘oversized homes’, and into smaller properties, could help to free up property for families are certainly not making new claims.
In fact, only in July I wrote about the housing shortage in reaction to a BBC Newsnight programme. Titled ‘Can old people solve the housing crisis?’, the programme positioned retirement villages as a solution to the problem.
Furthermore, a recent BBC article outlined the government’s ambitious aims to build a million homes in England by 2020, which came as a BBC Inside Out investigation revealed the scale of the UK’s housing crisis and the need for new homes.
Retirees should not be seen as ‘home blockers’
The Daily Mail reported that The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) recently told ministers at a conference, hosted by the Intermediary Mortgage Lenders Association, that the issue of older people living in oversized properties needs to be addressed.
Lynda Blackwell, Head of Mortgages at the FCA, said that Britain had a “real issue with the last-time buyer”. However, critics say older property owners should not be seen as ‘home blockers’.
Lisa Harris from Saga commented: “In the UK we really do face a housing crisis. However, setting the generations against each other or talking about ‘tackling older homeowners’ is not just unhelpful, it’s insulting.
“Older homeowners are not ‘home blockers’. They are people who have worked hard all their lives to live in the homes they love.”
So, what’s being done to help?
Better support and encouragement for the elderly could be the most effective leap forward to reduce the UK’s housing shortage, with supporters calling for the Government to axe stamp duty for pensioners who wish to downsize.
Lisa Harris added: “We need to consider incentives to help encourage those that would like to move, to take that step. We believe that allowing older homeowners one stamp duty free move if they are downsizing ready for retirement might help stimulate the market.”
ARCO’s Help to Move campaign also calls for stamp duty to be cut to enable retirees to move more easily in their later years. The campaign aims to raise awareness of the retirement village concept and ARCO highlights that just as Help to Buy aims to accommodate the housing needs of first time buyers, Help to Move is campaigning to give the older generation the housing choices needed in later life
Help To Move is calling for three main changes to polices that impact housing in the UK:
- A stamp duty exemption for retirement communities
- Continued public funding for extra care
- Changes to the planning system
They explain how retirement communities, such as Retirement Villages, combine housing, care, and community on one site and are key to enabling people to live healthy and independent lives well into the future. Development of housing options like RV provide a supportive community with your own home to buy (rental options available too) with the added peace of mind that care is available if you need it now or later down the line.
Lord Richard Best, chair of the All Parliamentary Group on Housing and Care for Older People, claims that a Help-to-Move package should not only focus on increasing the availability of affordable retirement housing but should also include financial advice and guidance for elderly home owners looking to downgrade.
Moving house can be a daunting prospect
We understand that moving can be daunting, both emotionally and practically. However many of our residents have said that although it did take them time to settle in to their new home and surroundings, the village life itself was a real comfort – with a social life on their doorstep from the moment they moved in.
Recently, BBC East Midlands’ Inside Out programme spoke to elderly buyers about the housing crisis.
Presented by Terry Christian, he chatted to those who have made the decision to downsize, to hear their thoughts on the challenges and positives around making the move.
If you fancy a watch, you can catch up on the Inside Out programme via the BBC iPlayer. The clip will expire on the 21st October 2016.
Warm regards everyone,
Sales and Marketing Director