More than 500,000 homeowners aged 55+ want to move but do not because of lack of suitable housing


  • Date: 19/07/2016
More than 500,000 homeowners aged 55+ want to move but do not because of lack of suitable housing

- One in five (19%) homeowners aged 55 or over considered moving in the past two years but have not done so; equating to more than 2 million homeowners.

- 23% of homeowners aged 55 or over who considered moving say lack of suitable housing was the main reason they did not do so.  This equates to more than 500,000 homeowners.

- The stress and upheaval of moving as well as not wanting to be away from friends, neighbours and community are also obstacles to moving.

- Last time buyers may be put off from buying new build homes because they don’t meet their needs.

With the recent Brexit decision, it is uncertain what the impact on new housing is likely to be.  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. If older homeowners 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+.¹

According to the annual Homeowner survey conducted by YouGov for HomeOwners Alliance and BLP Insurance, 6% of homeowners age fifty-five or older say they have moved in the two past years and a further 19% have considered moving but not done so – the equivalent of more than 2 million homeowners.²

A lack of the right kind of homes is the main reason for older homeowners deciding to stay put (23% of homeowners age 55+ who considered a move in the past two years say this is the primary reason for not moving). This equates to more than 500,000 homeowners.³

The survey has revealed that emotional ties more than financial concerns are a significant barrier to moving home in later life. The stress and upheaval of moving is more likely to be among the reasons not to move for homeowners age 55+ who considered a move (30% vs 21%  homeowners overall), as well as, not wanting to move away from friends, neighbours and their community (23% v 17% homeowners overall).  Property prices are less likely to be a barrier (22% vs 31% among homeowners overall).

When thinking about a future move, top priorities are similar regardless of age.  Good build quality (71%), spaciousness of rooms (72%) and parking (69%) top the list. However, compared with UK homeowners generally, a greater proportion of homeowners age 55 or older identify availability of parking (77% vs 69%), low running costs (70% vs 59%), proximity to shops (66% vs 55%), good transport links (56% vs 47%) and living on one level (36% vs 24%) as important criteria in their next new home.

When considering new build properties as an option, older homeowners see new builds as being particularly strong on low running costs (52%) but less likely to deliver on spaciousness of rooms (23%), the amount of available green space (23%) and providing living on one level (12%). Being near to amenities and good transport links are also aspects that are seen as less typical of new build homes.

Paula Higgins, Chief Executive Officer of HomeOwners Alliance, said: “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. 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."

Kim Vernau, Chief Executive Officer, BLP Insurance, said: “The issues highlighted by this 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 to help address the current housing shortage.”

Footnote 1: source June 2015 last time buyer report Legal & General prepared by the Cebr with 2012 English Housing survey data and YouGov survey Nov 2014 source 11.4 million homeowners age 55+.

Footnote 2: 11.4 million homeowners age 55+ x 19.46% = 2,218,440

Footnote 3: 2218440 x 22.9% = 510,019

Key Findings from the 2016 Annual Homeowner Survey:

  • 6% of homeowners age fifty-five or older say they have moved in the two past years and a further 19% have considered moving. Figure 1 Incidence of Moving/ Considering Moving
    • o Older homeowners, age 55+, are among the least likely to have moved or to have considered a move in the past two years, while, those age 25-34 are most likely to have moved or to be thinking about a move (25% vs 45%).  Figure 2 Incidence of Moving – Demographic Differences
  • Downsizing is a popular reason for considering moving amongst homeowners in the 55+ age bracket with 35% citing this as the reason for considering a move but it is not the only consideration -- most (56%) have other reasons for moving.  Figure 3 Reasons for Considering Moving
  • In terms of potential barriers to moving, the stress and upheaval of moving is more likely to be among the reasons not to move for homeowners age 55+ who considered moving (30% vs 21% overall), as well as, not wanting to move away from friends, neighbours and their community (23% vs 17% overall).  Property prices are less likely to be a barrier for homeowners age fifty-five or older who considered a move (22% vs 31% overall). Figure 4 – Reasons for Not Moving Among Homeowners Who Considered Moving
  • A lack of the right kind of homes is the main reason of those listed for older homeowners deciding to stay put (23% of homeowners age 55+ who considered a move in the past two years say this is the main reason for not moving). Figure 5 – Main Reason for Not Moving Among Homeowners Who Considered Moving
  • When thinking about a future move, top priorities are similar regardless of age.  Good build quality, spaciousness of rooms and parking top the list. However, compared with UK homeowners generally, a greater proportion of homeowners age 55 or older consider availability of parking (77% vs 69%), low running costs (70% vs 59%), proximity to shops (66% vs 55%), good transport links (56% vs 47%) and living on one level (36% vs 24%) as important considerations in their next new home. Figure 6 – Important in Next Home
  • We asked homeowners to indicate which elements are likely to be important in their next new home purchase and to rate whether they see new build homes as typically delivering against these same characteristics.  Figure 6 – Important in Next Home & How New Builds Deliver
    • o Against some of the most important purchase considerations: size/ spaciousness of rooms and the amount of green space, these are seen as less typical in new builds
      o The main feature of new build properties is seen to be low running costs (47%) – an area regarded as particularly important to those age 55+ (52%)
      o Aspects less likely to be seen as characteristic of new builds include living space on one level (of relatively greater importance to homeowners age 55+), character/ distinctiveness and sense of community. 

Notes to Editor

2016 Homeowner Survey

  1. This is the 4th Annual Homeowner Survey, a state of the nation report on the housing concerns and trends affecting homeowners and those aspiring to own.
  2. All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc.  The surveys were carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+). 
    a. In 2016, total sample size was 2,095 adults of which 1,293 were Homeowners. Fieldwork was undertaken 4-5th April 2016. 
  3. The 2016 Homeowner survey was made possible through sponsorship by BLP Insurance, leading provider of housing warranty insurance.
  4. Related releases from the survey include: Housing Crisis Deepens, Support for Stamp Duty Surcharge, Hard-Hitting Recommendations to Tackle Poor Quality of New Homes
    Please link to the HOA website at http://hoa.org.uk/ and the BLP website at http://www.blpinsurance.com/

For media enquiries about HomeOwners Alliance, please contact: Chantal or Sophie at Panpathic Communications – Chantal@panpathic.com / 07788 184 649 or Sophie@panpathic.com / 07815 860 082

For media enquiries about BLP Insurance, please contact:
Four Broadgate, Cara Penkethman on 020 7726 6111 or BLPInsurance@fourbroadgate.com

Paula Higgins, CEO of HomeOwners Alliance is available for interview. Images of charts available as jpegs.

About the HomeOwners Alliance

The HomeOwners Alliance champions the interests of Britain’s homeowners and aspiring homeowners. We are a consumer group providing helpful advice and services and acting as the voice of the homeowner in the media, lobbying for their interests in government, and campaigning against bad practices in industry.

We directly engage with government and media by conducting independent research and publishing reports that champion the interests of homeowners.  In addition to our annual Homeowner Survey, previous publications include:

  • Why the Mystery? – An investigation into the murky world of estate agent fees and contracts
  • Stamping on Aspiration - The astonishing impact of stamp duty on homeowners and the housing market
  • On the Edge - 300,000 interest-only mortgage holders set to lose their home
  • The Stresses of Buying and Owning a Home
  • The Death of a Dream – the crisis of homeownership in the UK

We are one of Britain’s most popular and fastest growing property advice websites, staying true to our mission to help homeowners facing some of the biggest and most complex decisions of their lives. Last year, more than 2 million homeowners and aspiring homeowners visited our website, www.hoa.org.uk, viewing over 4.5 million pages.

At hoa.org.uk, we provide independent advice for the key moments in owning a home, supported by legal and industry experts.  Get our free newsletter with a market-wide view of house prices and all the latest tips on buying, selling, improving and managing homes.  On our website you can find free independent guides, checklists and top tips.

About BLP Insurance

BLP Insurance offers housing warranty insurance and commercial development latent defects insurance underwritten by Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty SE. Our insurance is a compelling alternative to the 'traditional' 10 year new home warranty solutions and our commercial latent defects insurance product is the most comprehensive in the market. Unlike traditional new homes warranties, BLP’s insurance covers the building – not the developer – and does not ask developers to pay up front registration fees, ongoing membership fees, bonds, guarantees or deposits. For claims, only proof of damage is required not proof of liability. BLP’s cover is approved by all of the major British mortgage lenders.

We provide peace of mind for homeowners and protect their investment from the risk of undiscovered defects, because: our insurance policies are backed by an AA rated global insurer; we will have properly assessed the build project from design through to workmanship on site, to help minimise the chance of future defects; and if a defect does arise the homeowner won't have to prove who is to blame, just that there is a defect.
 
We have been providing construction insurance since 1989, trading as BLP since 1999. We are owned by Thomas Miller, a world class insurance services business at the forefront of the insurance industry for over 125 years. BLP Insurance is regulated by the FCA. www.blpinsurance.com


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