Lack of suitable homes prevents over 55s in UK from moving

Taylor Scott International News

More than 500,000 home owners aged 55 and over in the UK want to move but do not because of lack of suitable housing, new research has found. Some 19% in this age group considered moving in the past two years but have not done so while 23% who considered moving said that a lack of suitable housing was the main reason they did not do so. The stress and upheaval of moving as well as not wanting to be away from friends, neighbours and community are also obstacles to moving, according to the annual home owner survey conducted by YouGov for the Home Owners Alliance and BLP Insurance. The survey report says that with the recent Brexit decision, it is uncertain what the impact on new housing is likely to be but this does not take away from the fact that tackling the UK housing shortage remains a pressing concern. So called last time buyers, we have been told, could help ease the housing crisis in the UK, it suggests. If older home owners living in homes that are under occupied moved to smaller properties it would free up more housing stock. There are an estimated 11.4 million homeowners age 55 and over. Overall some 30% of home owners aged 55 and over said stress and upheaval are reasons for not moving compared to 21% of all home owners while 23% did not want to move away from friends compared with 17%. Prices are not as much of a barrier at 22% compared to 31%. When thinking about a future move, top priorities are similar regardless of age. Good build quality is important to 71%, spacious rooms 72% and parking 69%. However, compared with UK home owners generally, a greater proportion of home owners age 55 or older identify availability of parking at 77% to 69%, low running costs at 70% compared to 59%, proximity to shops at 66% to 55%, good transport links 56% to 47%. ‘The recent Brexit decision means we are now in the midst of uncertain times and new housing is likely to be a victim. Government needs to focus efforts on negotiating a European exit but they must not drop the ball in delivering new housing that meets the needs of last time buyers,’ said Paula Higgins, chief executive officer of the Home Owners Alliance. ‘House builders can't be allowed to sit on their hands and land bank. The government needs to keep them building and building houses that meet the needs of last time buyers as well as first time buyers,’ she added. According to Kim Vernau, chief executive officer of, BLP Insurance, the issues highlighted in the survey that face last time buyers are as acute as those issues encountered by first time buyers. ‘If we wish to provide the required quality of housing that addresses these concerns we desperately need an appropriate mix of well-designed homes alongside adequate local infrastructure… Taylor Scott International

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