According to the report, there are 25 million unused bedrooms and 8 million under-occupied homes in the UK. This is a growing problem as the under-occupation of housing has jumped by 45% since 2003 because older people are living longer and staying in the family home rather than downsizing to more appropriate accommodation.
Peter Girling Chairman of Girlings Retirement Rentals comments, “It is true elderly people in the UK are based in under-occupied homes worth an estimated £3 trillion – but for many, it is not out of choice. Many are desperate to sell their homes and release their capital to downsize or rent but there simply isn’t enough of the ‘appropriate’ accommodation referenced in the report – far from it. There is a shortage of suitable housing accommodation to buy or rent for retired people in the UK and this is crux of the crisis.”
“With RPI currently running at 5.6% and utility companies putting up their prices, many older people are facing a bleak winter in homes that are too big and they can’t afford to run. They may have property, but they don’t have cash and will struggle to meet the rising living costs. So, although this report highlights an important issue, it is more complex than declaring it a generation divide.”
“The government is failing to address these problems. Whilst it recently announced two new housing schemes which will see up to 200,000 new homes being built in the UK, retirement housing wasn’t on the agenda – neither was under-occupancy. It is time for joined up thinking on housing to ensure ‘appropriate’ options for all age groups. Only then will we see an end to housing hoarding and the current property bottleneck.”
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