Retired homeowners make billions from property boom

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