A third of today's 35-year-olds will be renting in retirement

Will you ever own your own home?

Updated: 
London, UK-circa 2013: Estate agent "let by" signs line the road in a suburb of London

While homeowners can generally embark on retirement with the mortgage paid off, renters still face monthly payments. And while more than three quarters of retired people currently own their own home, that figure looks set to fall.

The Council for Mortgage Lenders (CML) estimates that over three-quarters of people born in 1960 owned a home by the age of 50, while just over half of those born in 1980 will manage the same.

And Professor Steve Wilcox of the University of York's centre for housing policy, believes that only two thirds of 60-year-olds will own their own home in 25 years' time. "Britain is facing a housing benefit ticking time bomb. There will soon be huge proportions of pensioners who never own their own home," he tells the Daily Mail.

"This will inevitably have an impact on housing benefit costs because many pensioners will not be able to afford the rent on their pensions. This needs to be taken into account by the government when they are setting policy on providing opportunities for younger households to become homeowners."

It's taking longer than ever for young people to get on the housing ladder. In England, 66.5% of 25-34-year-olds were homeowners in 1991 – but by last year that had fallen to 36%. Many young people will never manage it, and will be renting all their lives.

And, says Professor Wilcox, this means that many people won't have an asset to fall back on as and when they need money for social care in later life.

Research from Prudential has revealed that, unsurprisingly perhaps, London has the highest proportion of retired renters - indeed, in Tower Hamlets, it's 73%. In Manchester, around half of retirees rent, and almost as many in Kingston upon Hull and Norwich.

A survey by specialist insurer Partnership late last year revealed that only 20% of over-40s expect to be paying rent when they retire: they may be over-optimistic.

"Most people aim to own their own home by the time they retire but the trend towards remortgaging, purchasing later in life and being kept off the housing ladder by high house prices means that this is out of reach for almost a third of people," says head of product development Mark Stopard.

It's worth remembering that many older people are renting by choice, seeing it as a hassle-free option. However, experts warn that people should be very careful with their calculations before taking this step.

Retirement Luxury on Londoners' Doorstep


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