There could be almost a million over-65s living in privately rented accommodation by 2035 according to the Generation Rent campaign group, as people leave it later to get on the property ladder.
The group expects the number of households renting privately where the lead person is aged over 65 will increase from 370,000 (2015-2016 figure) to 995,000 in 2035. This triple growth is believed to be due to a shortage of new housing being built, as well as the idea that people are leaving it too late to get onto the property ladder because of the rising costs of buying.
Dan Wilson Craw, director of Generation Rent, said: “With most debates on housing focused on young adults, politicians risk neglecting the vast numbers of people who are already too old to get a mortgage and face a lifetime of renting.
“As they start retiring in greater numbers, the state will have to pick up the tab unless it makes some fundamental changes to the housing market.”
What’s the alternative?
The average age of a first-time buyer is now higher than ever – 32 years old in 2015/2016 – and the average deposit needed for a new home is now £33,000 on average, which is prohibitive for many.
The problem with leaving it later to get a mortgage is that, by the time you’re in your 40s, many lenders worry that you’re already halfway to retirement, and therefore see you as a risky borrower.
Advocates of the relatively new build-to-rent market see this as the answer to the crisis. Build-to-rent properties are designed specifically for rent rather than purchase, often comprising large purpose-built blocks incorporating extensive facilities. They’re becoming increasingly popular options aimed at those who prioritise a high standard of living over getting on the property ladder.
Multi-generational living, where homes are converted (or even built) with the idea of multiple generations of a family living under one roof, is also on the rise. It is often cheaper to convert an attic or basement, or even build an annex onto an existing home for the young adults or grandparents of the family, than to think about purchasing a whole new property.