Older home owners have been labelled as ‘Generation Stuck’.
Retirement homes builder McCarthy & Stone says that over-65s hold the key to solving the housing crisis which has turned younger people into Generation Rent.
But, it says in a new report, older people wanting to downsize find their options limited, and moving expensive.
McCarthy & Stone is calling for a Stamp Duty exemption for older people who downsize, or who buy a retirement home.
The firm’s report, in conjunction with YouGov, found that in a sample of 3,000 over-65-year olds, 35% would consider downsizing – equal to a total of 4.1m people.
If all 4.1m were to downsize, that could free up 2m bedrooms.
The YouGov survey also talked to younger people, and found that 60% believed that the UK needs more ‘later homes’, and not just starter homes.
A greater proportion of pensioners, 70%, agreed, saying there should be more focus on improving the range of housing options for older people.
Not all older people want to downsize to a retirement property, although 22% of the sample said they would consider this.
Scaled up, that equates to 2.6m people but only some 162,000 retirement properties have ever been built in the UK.
A number of pensioners surveyed, 38%, feel the Government prioritises first-time buyers over older people, with Stamp Duty relief and Help to Buy.
However, both generations understand the struggles facing young people in the housing market.
Some 70% of over-65s cite high house prices, as do 60% of under-30 year olds.
Clive Fenton, chief executive of McCarthy & Stone, said: “Millions of older people are looking for properties better suited to their needs, and young people are desperately trying to join the housing ladder.
“By providing more suitable housing, such as bungalows, retirement housing or other well-designed accommodation for later life, we can address a big part of the housing crisis.
“We absolutely understand the Government’s focus on helping young people join the housing ladder, but if they are really serious about solving the housing crisis they have to recognise that helping older people to downsize to free up under-occupied property has to be a significant part of the solution.”