La dolce vita: Over-55s have more property wealth than GDP of Italy

Christina Hoghton
Written By:
Christina Hoghton



Over-55s in England have more wealth locked-away in their homes than the entire annual GDP of Italy, according to research commissioned by Age Partnership.

The retirement income specialist found that homeowners in England aged 55 and over currently own £1.5 trillion worth of property – £0.1 trillion more than Italy’s annual GDP.
With 6.3 million over-55s owning their home outright, this makes English over-55s some of the most property rich people in the world.
More money, more equity

And the level of locked-up housing wealth is predicted to grow massively. The research shows the long-term growth pattern of over-55s property wealth, with the forecasted figure for 20 years’ time standing at £2.9 trillion in England alone (based on a modest annual house price increase of 2% and the number of over-55s in England increasing by 5.3m between 2016 and 2036).

Simon Chalk, equity release expert at Age Partnership, said: “A small fortune is locked away in the houses owned by the older generation in England. The total property wealth of over-55s is already in the trillions – it even tops the GDP of Italy. This stored wealth cannot be ignored: housing must become a primary part of retirement financial planning and we need to open up more channels to help over-55s benefit from it. 
“Over the next 20 years housing wealth will become increasingly important, as the baby-boomers generation reach retirement en-masse. Pensions will continue to cause a headache as the population ages. Adding property wealth to the mix could help alleviate that pressure. Equity release is already taking a starring role as it provides an alternative to downsizing but still enables over-55s to release cash from their homes.”