Homes make pensioners the richest Britons

Older couple smilingHome-owning pensioners who have cleared their mortgages are among the richest people in the UK, according to new research from equity release company Key Retirement Solutions.

Its figures show that some 4.7 million retired Britons own a massive £774.22 billion of property outright.

And their bricks and mortar value is continuing to grow as the housing market picks up pace.

In fact, the average homeowner over the age of 65 has gained £1,120 on their property in just the last three months - a collective gain of £5.262 billion.

Dean Mirfin at Key Retirement Solutions said: "The continuing rise in pensioner property equity shows the housing market recovery is taking hold."

The gains made by pensioners vary widely depending where in the country they live, however.

Over 65s living in London, for example, have typically made an incredible £9,362 in the past three months, or almost £20,000 in the last year. And retired homeowners in the south west of England have seen the value of their houses and flats increase by some £2,042.

However, those with properties in the north east of England are actually down by £5,316 on this time last year, while older homeowners in Scotland have lost £1,708 and those in Yorkshire & Humberside are £1,633 worse off.

The overall value of property in the UK has nevertheless quadrupled since 1992, when the total value was £1.2 trillion, according to the Daily Mail. And pensioners often have the added advantage of having paid off their mortgages in full.

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Mirfin added: "Whatever the trend in the housing market, even for those regions experiencing falls, over-65s own considerable property wealth which represents a massive investment success as they no longer have mortgages on homes they may have bought more than 25 years ago."

With some 70% of the property owned by pensioners concentrated in concentrated in London, the south east, the south west, the east of England and the north west, many thousands of older people are therefore expected to tap into the property wealth they have built up over the years - either by freeing up some cash using an equity release scheme, or by downsizing to a cheaper home.

However, pensions campaigner Ros Altmann told the Daily Telegraph that people should not assume retired Britons were rich just because they own valuable properties.

"These figures should not be used to suggest that pensioners are hugely wealthy," she said.

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