Renting among the over-50s has hit record highs, with more than 790,000 homes across the UK now being rented by this age group.
Experts blame a combination of rising house prices, increased stamp duty and a tightening of the mortgage companies lending criteria are making homeownership a distant dream for many people.
The figures released by estate agents Hamptons International as part of their Monthly Lettings Index show that 15% of all rented homes are now occupied by this age group, with pensioners making up a third of this group.
This represents an increase of 61% from 2012, when 490,450 homes were rented by the over 50s, and a substantial increase of 8.2% compared to just last year.
In the South East of England,19% of renters are over 50, the largest percentage anywhere across the country. In the South West it’s 16%, the North West 16% and Wales 15%. The East of England, London, Yorkshire and Humber regions have the lowest proportion, at just 11%.
Most tenants (44%) over 50 rent a two bed property, with 26% opting for three bedrooms and 19% choosing one bedroom accommodation.
The average rent is now £977 per month, a rise of 2.6% on the previous year. In the South West, there was an increase of 4% year-on-year, with Scotland and Greater London seeing the next greatest rises with increases of 3.2% and 3.1% respectively.
The East and Wales saw a fall in rental prices, with average rents falling -0.5% and -0.1%.
As a result, over fifties will pay around £9.2 billion in rent this year, up from £5.1 billion in 2012 and £8.5 billion in 2018. This represents one pound in every seven now being paid by a tenant who is over 50. This is in comparison to one pound in nine in 2012. The over 50s typically pay 3%, or £30 more than other tenants.
Hamptons International’s comments
Aneisha Beveridge, head of research at Hamptons International, said: ‘House prices have risen more than incomes, making it harder for people to buy homes. And to make matters worse, after the 2008 financial crisis it became harder to get a mortgage after banks tightened their lending rules.
‘House prices have risen more than incomes making it harder for people to buy homes.
‘To make matters worse, after the 2008 financial crisis it became harder to get a mortgage after banks tightened their lending rules. And Stamp Duty costs have risen for those buying houses at the top end of the ladder.’
The combination of those factors, says Ms Beveridge, has pushed homeownership out of the reach of many households.
However, she also added that renting is not always the tenure of last resort, however. Being a tenant rather than a homeowner has many advantages for the over 50s said Ms Beveridge.
‘Renting offers households flexibility,’ she said. ‘They can try out different locations and types of houses before making a major commitment.’