Retired homeowners make billions from property boom

A3EFJJ Portrait of a senior woman sitting at the front stoop of house senior retirement home

Retired homeowners have made more than £12.5 billion between them in the past three months as house prices continue to climb.

In the five years since over-55s financial specialist Key Retirement started monitoring the housing wealth of the over-65s, the figure's increased by 12% or £93.85 billion - £20,000 on average for every homeowner.

Over-65 homeowners now own property wealth of £873.77 billion outright, with pensioners across almost all of the UK benefiting.

Unsurprisingly, retired homeowners in London were the biggest winners, gaining an average of around £16,260 each in the past three months. They hold nearly a fifth of all pensioner property equity, with total wealth of £173.683 billion.

Meanwhile, homeowners in Scotland have made more than £8,650 in the last three months, and pensioners in Yorkshire & Humberside are £4,063 better off.

However, retired homeowners in Wales saw a fall in housing wealth with average losses of £2,230, while the North West and West Midlands also saw house price falls.

"Retired homeowners have huge assets in their houses with total property wealth hitting another all-time high of £873 billion highlighting the growing importance of housing for retirement planning," says Dean Mirfin, technical director at Key Retirement.

"No matter what happens in the property market, homeowners will always have a major asset which should be considered as part of retirement planning."

Many pensioners are actively increasing their property wealth. Earlier this week, chancellor George Osborne told parliament that around 60,000 British pensioners have taken advantage of the new pension freedoms to withdraw a total of £1 billion from their pension pots.

Many are turning to buy-to let.

But, says David Sinclair of the International Longevity Centre-UK, "Whilst the introduction of 'pension freedoms' could be a boon to the buy-to-let sector, older people should make sure they take advice before making the jump."

Others, though, are going in the opposite direction and looking to cash in on their property wealth through equity release schemes.

"With older people holding almost £1.4 trillion in wealth in their homes, equity release is going to be an attractive way of supplementing a pension for many," says Sinclair.

"The industry needs to ensure that the income-poor, asset-rich pensioners are well served by this market. That said, the recent growth in the number of people aged 55-64 taking equity release is potentially very worrying."

Region Average change in value for homeowners aged 65+
London +£16,261
South East +£2,006
South West +£2,415
North West -£560
East Anglia +£540
East Midlands +£2,049
West Midlands -£246
Scotland +£8,653
Yorks/Humbs +£4,063
Wales -£2,231
North East +£400

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Retired homeowners make billions from property boom

Average price £202,649

Perth and Kinross has seen some volatility over the years: three years ago prices were more than 10% lower than today. Just over a year ago the recovery kicked in, so that 12 months ago they were just 3.58% shy of where they are now. Since then rises have been far slower and more gradual. The good news is that they haven’t dropped back, so there’s every hope that the recovery is sustainable.

Prices remain affordable, so that for a typical price of £200,000, buyers can get this four bedroom family home in a quiet cul-de-sac two miles from the centre of Perth.

Average price £168,769

House prices in Wolverhampton have been sluggish for years, so this growth actually represents a small recovery for the city. Prices are up 3.39% over the year, although before anyone gets too excited, it's worth highlighting that the lion's share of this was in the first half, and prices have stagnated this winter. It may be too soon to call the recovery.

It means that for your average budget of £170,000 you can buy this three-bedroom semi-detached property.

Average price £176,427

House price movements haven’t been dramatic in Lancaster in recent years: they have just crept up at a glacial pace. This year is no exception, as they posted growth of 2.8%.

Houses are affordable in Lancaster, so for the typical price of £180,000 you can get this beautiful 3-bedroom terraced home in great condition, around a mile from the centre.

Average price £160,239

House prices here are far lower than the average for the UK, and have not risen much since the onset of the recession. In the past five years prices are up just 5.65%.

Things looked very positive in the first half of this year, with price rises faster than most sellers could remember, but have since fallen marginally.

It means there are plenty of bargains around the typical price of £165,000, including this three bedroom semi-detached house within a mile of the city centre.

Average price £120,351

House prices have been sluggish in Bradford for years - returning less than 4% over the past five years. This year has seen more promising growth - particularly around the middle of the year, but prices remain up just over 2.3% in the year.

Prices are lower than the UK average, so there is some choice around the typical price of £120,000, including this four bedroom terrace house in Shipley.

Average price £136,075

Prices in Sunderland have been rising very slowly since the onset of the financial crisis - returning just under 7% in the past five years. This year, rises were stronger in the first six months, before stagnating in the second half. In the past three months house prices have risen just 0.15%.

Prices are well below the UK average, so there are some beautiful affordable homes for sale. This includes a 2-bedroom semi-detached property two miles from the centre for under £140,000.

Average price £231,433

Chester may be a beautiful city, but the property market has been less attractive over recent months. After huge rises last year, it turned at the beginning of this year - and only posted a 1.85% return over the past 12 months.

However, this is not a sign of further decline, because since then we have seen it fluctuate, and prices are currently almost 1% up in just three months.

Among the properties on offer in the £235,000 region is this three bedroom semi-detached house two miles from the city centre.

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The housing maket in Newport has been tough during the downturn. Over the past five years, prices have risen just over 7%. However, after a flurry at the beginning of this year, they have been falling ever since - and prices are actually down almost 3% in the past six months.

It means it’s a buyer’s market, so for the average property price there are plenty of decent homes available, including this beautiful Victorian 4-bedroom terraced house.

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Hull has been a buyer’s market since the financial crisis began in 2008. In the past five years, growth has been less than 5%, so this year’s disappointing returns have followed the same trend. House prices are actually marginally down in the last six months.

Prices remain highly affordable, so there is some lovely property available for the average price, including this lovely period end-of-terrace in the catchment area of a number of good schools.

Average price £154,566

Durham’s property market has struggled since the onset of the financial crisis, and over the past five years prices have grown by just 3.6%. This year house prices have barely moved since the spring.

Prices remain well below the UK average, so for a typical price of £153, 950, buyers can snap up a well-presented three-bedroom semi-detached home two miles from the city centre.


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