Homeowners failing to take property into account in retirement financing

Posted on Friday, March 2, 2018

"We still find evidence of a collective blind-spot when it comes to property supporting retirement income."

Homeowners are at risk of hindering their retirement finances by undervaluing their property as a source of income, according to Retirement Advantage.

This is despite the majority of people recognising that their property equity is worth more than their pension, although this is down to 52% from 63% in 2017.

Driving this difference is a substantial increase in the proportion who don’t know – up from 5% last year to 22% today.

The research also asked respondents to rank which assets they expect to provide the most financial support in retirement. Overall, 42% ranked their workplace or personal pension first, while just 19% ranked property first. Among over-55s, more people back the state pension (18%) than property wealth (17%).

These findings come as average UK house prices currently stand at £226,000, compared with the average pension pot size of £50,000.

Alice Watson, Head of Product and Marketing at Retirement Advantage, said: “There is a burning need for us to take a more holistic view of the way all our assets, including property, could provide for us in retirement. The move away from defined benefit pension schemes and a decade of stagnant wage growth has left a generation of people facing a retirement savings gap. At the same time, we know that for most people, property is the most valuable asset they own and worth more than they hold in pensions and savings.

“And yet we still find evidence of a collective blindspot when it comes to property supporting retirement income. We’ve seen that there is still an inability to see property as a store of wealth, because emotional and psychological ties are too strong. These ties are fuelling misconceptions about ways in which people can tap into property wealth and still have a home for them and for next of kin.

“Tomorrow’s retirees depend on us being able to break down the barriers which are deterring people from tapping into property wealth alongside other assets.”

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