People using property to support their retirement lifestyle

The significant increase in property prices in recent years has likely shifted many people’s expectations about the role property wealth will eventually play in supporting their retirement. With people spending longer in retirement, one of the challenges that many need to overcome is how to fund it and how to meet the financial demands they may face in later life, such as the cost of long-term care.

Failure to save enough for old age is forcing more people to use their property to provide income. Research shows so-called ‘Hippies’, or the ‘Home is my Pension’ generation, are increasing at a significant rate. 22% of people are planning ahead for their retirement and expect to use the value of their home[1]. The findings indicate that just over a third of all people who aren’t currently retired (35%) own a property but have less than £10,000 saved in their pension pot.

Holding no pensions savings
Worryingly, a further 22% of people hold no pensions savings at all. The significant number of small or empty pots, coupled with the 24% increase in median house price values in England and Wales since 2016[2], could be driving more people to consider using their property wealth to fund their retirement.

Property is often the largest asset someone has when they reach retirement, especially if they have lived there for quite a while, and will often significantly outweigh any pensions savings they have.

Accessing property wealth
Based on current house prices in England and Wales, the average homeowner could access over £72,988 in equity release, for instance[3]. People who aren’t currently retired expect to downsize their property (10%), sell their property (9%) or access equity via a lifetime mortgage (6%) to help fund their later life.

While many people looking ahead to retirement are hoping to access property wealth, there are a significant number of retired homeowners who could also benefit from considering the role their property might play in funding their lifestyle.

Main source of income
Nearly two-thirds of people over 65 are dependent on the State Pension as their main source of income and are also homeowners.
The findings show there are a large number of people currently in retirement who may be on a limited income and could benefit from the likely increases in the value of their home.

Source data:
[1] Opinium survey of 4,000 UK adults between 31 October and 3 November 2021
[2] Office for National Statistics, House price statistics for small areas in England and Wales: year ending March 2021, Nov 2021
[3] Legal & General customers accessed, on average, 24.5% of the value of their home through equity release, putting the expected amount that can be accessed across England and Wales at £72,988: Office for National Statistics, House price statistics for small areas in England and Wales: year ending March 2021, Nov 2021