Downsizing or upsizing?  Over-55s still planning to buy property

In October 2016, our PropertySurveying newsletter reported on research which revealed that the property wealth of England’s over-55s was greater than the GDP of Italy.

The over-55 age group is expected to increase by one third over the next twenty years, and a recent survey carried out by Prudential reveals that nearly two in five of them expect to purchase at least one more property in the future.  The findings suggest that this will account for over three million property sales, with a potential value of £775 billion.

One in ten of those surveyed said that their next property purchase would not be their last, and that they would probably buy again in the future.

Nearly a fifth of those buying property will not be using it as their main home, but instead use it to house another family member, as a buy-to-let, or as a holiday home.

Many of the over-55s surveyed planned to move to an area which was more suitable for their age group, with one in five saying that they planned to move to a quieter area.  However, a large proportion said the planned purchase was to release funds.

Pension freedoms have contributed to the trend, with one in seven confirming that their plans had changed since the rule changes giving over-55s access to their pension savings.  However, two fifths of older people said their reason for buying property was to downsize, enabling them to access extra cash to enhance their retirement income.

Not all property purchases would be to generate income, with almost equal numbers (three in ten) expecting to spend either more or less on their next purchase.

Prudential retirement expert, Stan Russell, warned: “The process of withdrawing cash from a pension fund to purchase property and potentially generate an income is complex and could result in a large tax bill.

“Anyone aged 50 or over with a defined contribution pension is entitled to free and impartial guidance from the Government’s Pension Wise service, and many of those considering accessing their retirement savings under the new freedoms would benefit from a consultation with a financial adviser.”


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