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Three-quarters of housing wealth in the UK is held by over-50s

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Written by: John Fitzsimons
04/04/2018
There could be a rise in older homeowners downsizing to release equity in their homes
Three-quarters of housing wealth in the UK is held by over-50s

Homeowners aged over 50 hold £2.8trn of housing equity, a new study from Savills has revealed, the equivalent of around three-quarters of the UK’s entire housing wealth.

More than 40% of the nation’s wealth – around £1.6 trn – is held by the over-65s, the study found.

The contrast with younger property owners is stark, with homeowners under the age of 35 holding just £221bn in equity.

Regional split

Savills identified a stark regional difference in property wealth owned by different generations too. Older households were found to be most dominant in the South West where the over-65s own almost half of all homeowner equity. In fact, those aged over 50 own around 80% of the region’s property wealth, while the under-35s hold just 4%.

London enjoys a less significant generational split when it comes to property wealth though. The under-35s own around 11% of the capital’s housing equity, with the over-50s accounting for almost two-thirds at 65%.

Savills puts this down to London being a hub for young professionals, boasting a lower average age than the rest of the UK.

The study also highlights that the over-65s are not completely debt free. They owe around £112bn on outstanding mortgage borrowing, though this works out at just 7% of the value of their homes.

By contrast, the under-35s owe £117bn, but this is over half the total £220bn of housing wealth they own.

Lawrence Bowles, research analyst at Savills, said that the nation has not seen so much housing wealth concentrated in older hands for a long time, and noted that it is likely that there will be an increase in people downsizing in order to release some of that equity.

He continued: “Our analysis shows that there’s truth in the old stereotype of affluent households selling up in London for a ‘move to the country’. The figures for the South West of England are evidence of the trend for older homeowners making a lifestyle move, making the region arguably the country’s largest naturally occurring retirement community.”

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