Parts of the UK are seeing a growth in demand from retirement renters seeking properties as the appeal of home ownership dwindles for this age group.
The number of pensioners stepping off the property ladder to rent is growing fast according to retirement rental specialist, Girlings Retirement Rentals. It reports that in five years, new enquiries have risen by 32% and the main attractions are rental affordability and the availability of lifetime (assured) tenancies.
This growth in popularity of renting in retirement mirrors a general increase in renting in the UK. The English Housing Survey from Communities and Local Government reports this week that the number of households renting privately has increased by one million in the last five years and that one in six homes is now a private rental property.
In 2005/06, there were 2.4 million private rental households, which rose to 3.4 million in 2009/10.The private rented sector now accounts for 15.6% of all households in England, up from 14.2% in 2008/09 and 11.7% in 2005/06.
The affordability of renting is a big attraction for Girlings’ tenants. In a recent tenants’ survey nearly half said they are financially better off renting. Some 48% of people were former property owners who sold their properties to release capital and invest it before renting a property through Girlings.
They are now enjoying greater financial freedom with only monthly rents to meet, as maintenance costs and additional services, including a 24-hour Careline and the presence of a House Manager on site, are included in the rent.
Former big band singer Shirley Dew and husband Roy moved into a Girlings’ apartment in West Sussex when they returned from living in Gran Canaria and were priced out of the UK property market.
One of the main attractions of renting for the Dews was the fact they could move into a modern, clean, purpose built retirement apartment immediately and make a fresh start in the UK. Other benefits were the assured, life long tenancy offered by Girlings. In addition, the development was very secure and the couple felt reassured by the presence of a House Manager on site to support tenants whom they felt would be needed increasingly as they grew older.
‘Financially, renting is a fantastic option for us. Whilst we don’t have the sunshine of Gran Canaria, we have marvellous walks, beaches and wonderful scenery on our doorstep. We definitely made the right decision to come back,’ said Shirley.
According to Peter Girling, chairman of Girlings Retirement Rentals currently, 70% of over 65s are homeowners in the UK and many live in large, but under occupied family housing. ‘Some £1 trillion is tied up in the value of their homes and yet many live in houses which are now too large for them, struggle to pay the bills and make ends meet. It is little wonder that many are opting to step off the property ladder and rent in order to free up their finances for retirement,’ he said.
‘Renting seems to make financial sense increasingly to this age group. Our assured, life long tenancies give people the same level of security as home ownership, but without the maintenance and financial worries and this is the big attraction,’ he added.