No ‘one-size fits all approach’ to help retired homeowners

There is no “one-size fits all approach” to helping people achieve a higher standard of living, according to a new report published by the Pensions Policy Institute (PPI), which has identified several ways that homeowners and renters can be supported to achieve “greater adequacy” in terms of their retirement income.

The PPI has published a new report that explores the implications of a changing housing market on current and future retirement income and needs – in particular the growing private rental sector.

The report, titled To Buy or not to Buy: the Changing Landscape of Housing in Retirement and sponsored by Scottish Widows, suggested that people renting in retirement will spend a significant proportion of their income on ongoing basic housing costs, meaning that they will need a higher retirement income to achieve an “adequate standard of living”.

PPI senior policy researcher, Mark Baker, commented: “People are finding it harder to get on to the property ladder, meaning that a growing number of people may enter retirement with no property equity at all, and will face the extra costs associated with renting their homes.

“Those who do buy are also more likely to reach retirement with some level of mortgage debt. This means that in the future, people will enter retirement with less security and equity in housing, on average.

“There is no one-size fits all approach to helping people achieve a higher standard of living, and the report identifies a number of ways in which homeowners and renters can be supported to achieve greater adequacy in terms of their retirement income.”

The PPI added that the report represented a “challenge” to the industry and the Government to support people to negotiate the housing market successfully, in order to help them achieve higher standards of living in retirement.

“Cheaper housing or higher private pension could help renters, though under current trends, people are not saving enough into pensions and there is insufficient social housing to meet everyone’s needs,” Barker continued.

“Increased access to social housing could also see an increase in disposable income and living standards, as well as increased security of tenure. However, for this to happen, more investment in social housing from Government will be needed. Changes to the benefit system which meant that people do not lose out on housing benefit entitlement would also significantly improve the living standards of some renters.”

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