Bexhill people aged over 65 currently hold more housing wealth in their homes than the annual GDP of the whole of Powys, and this is a problem for everyone in Bexhill!
Many retiree’s want to move but cannot, as there is a shortage of such homes for mature people to downsize into. Due to the shortage, bungalows command a 10% to 20% premium per square foot over houses of the same size with stairs. To add to the woes, in 2014, just 1% of new builds in the UK were bungalows, according to the National House Building Council – down from 7% in 1996.
My research has found that there are 9,909 households in Bexhill owned outright (i.e. no mortgage) by over 65 year olds. Taking into account the average value of a property in Bexhill, this means £2.85 billion of equity is locked up in these Bexhill homes, compared to the GDP of the whole of Powys being £1.9 billion of GDP.
A recent survey by YouGov, found that 36% of people aged over 65 in the UK are looking to downsize into a smaller home. However, the Government seems to focus all its attention on first-time buyers with strategies such as Starter Homes to ensure the youngsters of the UK don’t become permanent members of ‘Generation Rent’. Conversely, this overlooks the chronic under-supply of appropriate retirement housing essential to the needs of the Bexhill’s rapidly ageing population. Regrettably, the Bexhill’s housing stock is woefully unprepared for this demographic shift to the ‘stretched middle age’, and this has created a new ‘Generation Trapped’ dilemma where older people cannot move.
Some OAP’s who are finding it difficult to live on their own, are unable to leave their bungalow because of a lack of sheltered housing and ‘affordable’ care home places. So, older retirees can’t leave bungalows, younger retirees can’t buy bungalows and younger people can’t buy family houses.