Rise of the retired renter

Stats suggest almost half of UK over-65s would consider downsizing – a level of demand that far outstrips retirement housing available.

London rents up 7.6% in 12 months - new figures

New figures from McCarthy & Stone’s annual Retirement Confidence Index (RCI) reveal that almost half (48%) of over-65s would consider downsizing – especially if they were exempt from stamp duty.

This equates to 5.7 million people now, rising to 11 million in 2036 as the population ages.

However, McCarthy & Stone point out this level of demand far outstrips the estimated 141,000 units of owner-occupied retirement housing built in the UK to date.

According to Girlings Retirement Rentals, owner-occupied retirement housing isn’t the only option people should consider when downsizing, they say that growing numbers of older people are choosing to downsize and rent in later life – a trend they expect to continue.

Indeed, another report out earlier this year from estate agency, Strutt & Parker and Octopus Healthcare suggested that almost one in five baby boomers would consider living in a professionally managed rental product.

Peter Girling, chairman, Girlings Retirement Rentals, said: “Renting in retirement can offer a good financial solution for those looking to downsize, especially for those deterred by stamp duty costs. Benefits for retirees include freeing up capital in their home to help fund retirement, and removing the burden of ongoing property maintenance and upkeep.”

“Initially, renting may not appear an obvious option for someone who has owned their own home, and we find that it’s often the security of tenure which is the main stumbling block.

“This isn’t the case when renting through us as most properties are available to rent on assured tenancies, which means they can live in the property for as long as they wish.

“The assured tenancy provides older people with the same security and peace of mind as if they were owning their own home which we recognise is important for older people.” says Girling.

One lady who is enjoying renting in retirement is published author, Janet Hilderley, 76, who has been renting a one bedroom apartment in a purpose-built retirement development in Wimborne, Dorset since May.

Originally from Surrey, Janet hadn’t considered living in Dorset until she visited her friend, David, who had returned from overseas to live in his home town of Bournemouth.

Janet loved the area and realised she could afford a better quality of life there, so decided to make the move.

David found Janet a flat to rent through Girlings in Bournemouth where she lived very happily for two years until she became very ill and then sadly lost David at the end of last year.

Following her recovery, Janet wanted a fresh start and started to look for somewhere new to move to in the same area with Girlings’ help.

When the apartment in Wimborne became available it offered the perfect opportunity for her to relocate.

Janet says, “Wimborne is a lovely little market town and there is always lots going on. I’m interested in local history and enjoy attending events at the local museum and concerts at the Minster.

“I’ve made new friends who often pop in for a coffee, and old friends like to visit too because it’s such a lovely area.”

Janet says there are many benefits of renting in retirement.

She doesn’t have to worry about any property upkeep or maintenance as this is included in the rent.

The apartment is safe and secure; plus there is a house manager on site to check in on the residents, beautiful communal gardens and a communal laundry room.

Financially it makes sense too as Janet can budget effectively every month as she knows her outgoings.

Janet says, “I’m very happy renting. I have an assured tenancy which means I can remain here for life if I choose and I don’t have that awful fear of the landlord turning me out.

“I also find it reassuring that there’s a very capable and caring manager at the development should I need any assistance.”