Two separate organisations representing the interests of older people have called for a “revolution” in the provision of housing to better meet the needs of those in retirement.
Saga has called on the Chancellor to introduce a Stamp Duty (in Scotland Land Building Transaction Tax) exemption for those downsizing in retirement. Their recent research has provided compelling evidence that a third of over 60s want to downsize but are deterred by the cost. Abolishing Stamp Duty or in Scotland LBTT ,on age related housing developments would encourage downsizing, add to the housing stock, and help free up housing for younger people aspiring to own their own home.
Saga’s call for a greater focus on the housing needs of retirees has been echoed by the International Longevity Centre-UK. (ILC-UK) This think tank’s study has revealed that:
- Nearly 9 in 10 of the 65-79 age group live in under- occupied housing- over 50% live in homes with two or more excess bedrooms
- According to calculations, there could be a retirement housing gap of 160,000 by 2030 and if the current trend continues by 2050 the gap could grow to 376,000.
- Retirement housing is much more likely to contain adaptations for elderly living than other forms of housing. Therefore as well as freeing up a range of properties throughout the housing market downsizing in later life into retirement housing could help to ensure more people can stay in their homes for longer ,reducing pressure on the residential care sector.
- When it comes to reasons why older people are currently choosing not to downsize, the ILC-UK’s findings are similar to Saga’s with Stamp Duty or LBTT and other financial costs posing a significant barrier.
- It also found that lack of suitable housing on the market was a major deterrent.
“The Housing Minister is right to recognise that meeting the needs of last-time buyers and encouraging downsizing is crucial to addressing the housing crisis” commented Baroness Sally Greengross ,Chief Executive ICL-UK. “Downsizing can also ensure that older people live in properties that allow them to stay in their own homes for longer and can release equity that can be used to fund social care in later life.”
“Government should also consider what changes can be made to Stamp Duty (or LBTT) to remove the perceived financial barrier of downsizing” she said.