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Home Finance Over-65s dominate home ownership but many still face housing costs in retirement

Over-65s dominate home ownership but many still face housing costs in retirement

by Uma
iStock 1045351808


  • In 2010-11, 76% of those aged 65 and over were owner occupiers. By 2020-21, this had increased to 80%.
  • The majority of owner occupiers of this age are outright owners.
  • Over the same time period, the proportion of social renters aged 65 and over has decreased, from 19% in 2010-11 to 15% in 2020-21.
  • However, they are the most prevalent group in the social rented sector (26%).
  • Between 2010-2021 there was a decrease in the proportion of owner occupiers aged 55-64 from 79% to 70%.

The Department for Levelling up, Communities and Housing has published the English Housing Survey English Housing Survey: headline report (publishing.service.gov.uk)

Helen Morrissey, senior pensions and retirement analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown:

“This data shows the lion’s share of housing wealth remains in the hands of the older generation with 80% of the over-65s being owner occupiers. The vast majority have paid off their mortgages which relieves them of the burden of needing to find money to cover mortgage payments and rent. However, for those yet to pay off their mortgage or in the rented sector the struggle is very real. Mean mortgage payments are £174 per week, while in the private rented sector the average is £198. In areas like London the average is much higher, and many older people will struggle to find the cash to meet these costs. It’s a situation only likely to get worse in the coming years as high house prices mean people get on to the housing ladder later, or not at all.

This clearly has implications for retirement planning -accounting for these costs means the amount you need to save skyrockets. Some will be able to cover it, but others simply won’t be able to. It could further fuel a surge in older people continuing to work longer – we are already seeing signs of a “unretirement” as the rising cost of living tempts many who retired during COVID back out into the workforce. Of course, the key to this is making sure there are jobs there for those who want to or need to keep working.

The government has announced plans to help older people back into the workplace, which is welcome, but in addition to support and training thought needs to be given to issues such as flexible working. In recent research, this proved popular with older people as it allows them more freedom and the ability to continue to care for grandchildren, for instance. Working longer is likely to become a reality for many more people and we need to make sure the support is there to help them do that.”