It's predicted that by 2030, a quarter of the UK's population will be 65 and over. But if you're an 'empty nester' hoping to release equity from your home and downsize, there might be an unexpected problem.
Well, that's according to a recent report by the retirement housebuilder, McCarthy and Stone. Their report, 'Generation Stuck: Exploring the reality of downsizing in later life', revealed a worrying shortage of suitable homes for those wishing to downsize. Meaning that an entire generation risks remaining 'stuck' in their existing home.
And while the idea of having oodles of space might be appealing, the reality is that parts of the home remain unused. And equity that could be used to enjoy life, remains tied up in your ‘too large’ home.
That sounds a little bleak doesn't it? But there is a glimmer of hope.
In the 2015 autumn statement, Chancellor George Osborne announced plans to build 400,000 affordable homes by 2020-21. With 8,000 homes earmarked for older people and those with disabilities. To fund this elderly care initiative, council tax will be increased by 2%.
But you don't have to be a mathematician to work out that the supply will fall short of demand.
Which is why McCarthy and Stone's 'Generation Stuck' report is welcome. It aims to, 'kick start the debate about older people's housing needs' and it hasn't come a moment too soon.
Because as estate agents in London, we see firsthand the challenge of finding London properties that are suitable for retirement. It can take buyers months or even years to find a property that will meet their future requirements. So we welcome this consciousness-raising in the housing industry.
And our top tip if you're an 'aspirational downsizer'?
Start looking sooner, rather than later. Investigate developments that are under construction, and get your bid in early. And although you might want to buy property in a particular London area, it's worth widening your search if it means you find a home that will suit you better in later life.
If you'd like us to keep our ears to the ground for your retirement home, please get in touch.