Landlords Need to Ready Homes for Aging Renters

An ageing population means middle-aged people are three times more likely to rent a home than at the turn of the century. 

Data published by the Office for National Statistics in February 2020 reveal the trend is likely to see more people rent past retirement. 

The research shows a third of people aged between 30 and 40 years old were renters in 2017, compared with one in 10 in 1993. Currently, most over 65s own their home, with around 6% renting privately, but home ownership has decreased as renting has become more popular for younger age groups. Across all age groups, one in four people privately rent.

“Declining home-ownership rates at younger ages may have an impact on the type of accommodation older people live in,” says the ONS study. 

“Increases in the private rental sector have been seen for all age groups apart from the very oldest, with the increase particularly pronounced in mid-life. 

“For any given age, people are far more likely to be renting privately today than 10 or 20 years ago.”

The ONS explains that for high rates of home ownership in retirement, people need to take out a mortgage by their 50s, but the middle-aged are unlikely to have a mortgage and are more likely to rent.

“Private renting has some advantages over owning a property, including maintenance responsibilities and costs falling on the landlord rather than the resident. This is something that may be beneficial in later life as reduced income, deteriorating health and decreased cognitive function may impair the ability of people to maintain their homes,” says the ONS. 

“Renting privately may also mean older people are more likely to be able to move to a different, better-suited property if their needs change. 

“These potential benefits come at a price. While those with mortgages often have high housing costs, repayments stop when the mortgage is paid off. A market rent that is affordable to someone of working age may cease to be affordable after retirement, when income decreases.”

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