This week, Legal and General issued a study into ‘Last Time Buyers’ looking at the number of homes over 55s currently live in, and how their downsizing could help address the UK’s housing crisis.
The full report can be read here: http://www.legalandgeneralgroup.com/_pdfs/press-release/LTB_Front_Cover_Report_Final.pdf
“Clearly, retirement properties are a crucial part of helping to unblock the UK’s housing crisis, but we have to ensure there are sufficient, good quality retirement living options to meet the needs of an ageing population.
“We believe better provision of housing for older people is a priority issue, but there are barriers to creating these properties.
“In comparison to standard housebuilders, specialist developers are burdened with many extra costs – and they need to be incentivised to build these homes. Changes to the planning system such as creating a specific use class category for retirement properties - equivalent to affordable housing - and the scrapping of Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) would make a real difference.
“Stamp duty remains a prohibitive barrier for many, and despite recent changes to the system, we believe there is still more than should be done for older people. A stamp duty exemption for over 60s who downsize would help encourage more people to move.
“However, in debates like this it’s important we don’t forget the people who are moving from their much loved family homes, which they have often been in for decades. Our properties offer security, peace of mind and independent living, along with community and support. Being in a manageable home with no maintenance can offer a new lease of life for people – ensuring they are close to amenities, and surrounded by a new community.
“Added to this, specialist retirement housing is proven to have a very real, beneficial effect on older people’s health and wellbeing. Be it from being in a modern, warm, well insulated home to having a sense of community and no more loneliness. This alone could help save health and care services considerable resources and contribute to easing the longer term pressure on the NHS.”