The Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) has urged the Government to address the UK’s housing shortage by focussing on pensioners as well as first time buyers.
Although it is widely accepted that there is a national shortage of affordable housing for those who want to buy, most policy initiatives such as the Help to Buy scheme focus on people who are at the bottom end of the property ladder and looking to purchase their first home.
The CML has called for the authorities to look instead at the policies aimed at the over-65s. It claims that large numbers of pensioners are effectively trapped in houses that are too big for them. Scrapping stamp duty would enable many to move out of unsuitable homes and downsize, freeing up larger properties for younger families and generally increasing fluidity in the housing market.
Nick Sanderson, CEO of Audley Retirement Villages, said: ‘According to CML figures only 1% of the UK’s five million homeowners over 65 moved house last year, demonstrating the likely risk of the property market grinding to a standstill as those below can’t climb the ladder.
‘It’s essential that there is a better supply of good quality housing that meets the older population’s changing needs. Not only must we build more suitable housing, but we must also incentivise them to downsize.
‘A rebate in stamp duty on these types of homes would be an important step in ensuring fluidity in the market, providing an attractive alternative for this generation’.