Demand for retirement homes in UK slows

The uptake of retirement housing in the UK softened in the second quarter of this year as many downsizers paused plans ahead of the European Union referendum vote, according to the latest quarterly review.

Overall new buyer registrations for retirement properties slipped by over 20% from the first quarter to 4,744, a 30% fall on the same period last year, as uncertainty before the referendum slowed the market.
 
However, the data from retirement property specialist Retirement Homesearch, also shows that the number of property viewings at 2,974 and instructions at 513 remained steady on first quarter numbers, showing that registered buyers are still actively looking to downsize.
 
‘Uncertainty around the referendum may have caused many downsizers to sit on their hands until after 24 June, but the outcome could mean a further delay in decisions, as markets fluctuate and affect pensions, which will have a knock-on effect on Britons’ retirement plans,’ said Nick Freeth, managing director of Retirement Homesearch.

‘However, with six million older Britons now living in houses with two or more excess bedrooms, downsizing could help retirees free up capital, reduce the cost of running large properties and move to homes better suited to their needs,’ he added.
 
A recent report on the state of the UK’s housing, published by the International Longevity Centre (ILC-UK) and supported by Retirement Homesearch parent company, FirstPort, shows that under occupancy amongst the older generation is now a widespread issue with six million people living in houses with two or more excess bedrooms. Since 2005 there has been a significant increase in the number of 65 to 74 year olds living alone to 300,000.
 
‘As experts in retirement housing, we know that having access to specialist advice is especially important in the post-Brexit landscape where it is essential to minimise uncertainty. By ensuring downsizers get the guidance they need, they can begin to look forward to a new home, as well as a new lifestyle,’ Freeth concluded.