Quarter of older households still have rent or mortgage payments

Posted on Tuesday, July 12, 2022

While the majority of older households own their home outright, a quarter still have either rent or mortgage payments, according to the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities’ latest survey.

The 2020-21 survey found that social renters aged 65 and over paid, on average, 27% of their household income on their rent when housing support was included, and 34% when it was excluded.

Meanwhile, older private renting households spent 38% of their household income on rent when housing support was included, and 48% when it was excluded.

Older mortgagors paid, on average, 31% of their household income on their mortgage.

Data also showed that 1.1m older households lived in homes that did not meet the Decent Homes Standard.

Older households accounted for 15% of those who lived in homes that failed to meet the Decent Homes Standard. Nearly a third of older private renters lived in a non-decent home, a higher proportion than older owner-occupiers and social renters.

It also found that more than half of older households lived in homes with an energy efficiency rating of D or below.

The average energy efficiency rating (SAP) in the homes of older households was 64 points, while social renters had a higher SAP rating (69) than older mortgagors (66), outright owners (63) and private renters (61).

Elsewhere it found that older households had spent on average 23 years in their current home. Less than 1 in 10 older households had moved home in the past three years, and only 3% planned to move home within the next six months.

Overall, 17% of older households had no savings.

Commenting on the latest figures, Hargreaves Lansdown senior pensions and retirement analyst Helen Morrissey says: “The days of retiring mortgage-free are over for many with a quarter of older households still having to pay either a mortgage or rent post the age of 65. Such costs can be sizeable and can add a huge extra chunk to any money you need to put away for your retirement, especially for those who continue to rent.”

“Pensioners facing a shortfall in retirement income often talk about downsizing to a smaller property as a way of freeing up some extra cash but, while it may seem a good idea a few years down the line, when it comes to it many older people cannot bear the thought of leaving a home they may have brought up family in or have a close friendship network nearby.”

“The issue could become more acute as the cost-of-living crisis continues to bite and the price of essentials such as food and utilities continues to sky-rocket. Older households tend to spend a larger proportion of their income on these items so are particularly badly affected.”

“As energy bills in particular soar older households may struggle with around half of their homes having an energy efficiency rating of D or below and with almost one fifth of older households saying they have no savings they face a very difficult few months ahead.”

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