Older Owners - Research on the lives, aspirations and housing outcomes of older homeowners in the UK

Research report
Descriptive analysis
Older people

Lloyd J

Parry W


October 1, 2015


This report describes the results of quantitative research into older homeowners in the UK, using data drawn from the 2011 Census and a nationally representative panel survey.

In 2011, there were around 6.5 million older living in owner-occupied homes in England, of whom 5.7 million owned their home outright, with the remainder owning with a mortgage or some form of shared ownership.

Patterns of tenure in the 65+ population are broadly consistent, with 70-80% of older people living in owner-occupied homes in different geographic areas. However, within the older generation owner-occupation rates are lower among the oldest-old (85+) than those aged 65 to 74.

In 2011-12, the median value of older people’s homes in the UK was £200,000, with this average varying across different regions between £150,000 and £300,000.

In all areas of the UK, nearly three-quarters (72%) of older people living in owner-occupied homes have three or more bedrooms in their home. Around two-thirds of older people living in owner-occupied housing in the UK live with a partner, while just under one-third live alone.

Levels of income among older homeowners vary significantly by area. In most regions, total gross monthly personal income at the 50th percentile (median) is around £1,000 per month (2011-12 prices). With the exception of Northern Ireland, over half of older homeowners have an employer pension. Across the East and South of England, over 20% report a private pension or annuity income. Around four-fifths of older homeowners in the UK report that they are ‘living comfortably’ or ‘doing alright’.

The incidence of longstanding illness or disability among older owners varies relatively widely across different UK regions, from 19% in the South East to 31% in the North East. The most common types of disability issues related to mobility, as well as to lifting, carrying or moving objects. Over 10% of older homeowners report providing round the clock care (100+ hours per week).

Around one in ten older homeowners cite issues with noisy neighbours or pollution, although the percentage reporting problems with pollution is significantly higher in London. Most older homeowners (over four-fifths) are happy with the standard of local medical services, with no real regional variations observable. Less than 5% of older homeowners across the UK report being unable to access services when they need to.

Just over half of older homeowners describe their neighbourhood as close-knit. Only 4% of older homeowners feel that people in their neighbourhood can’t be trusted, and just 3% report they do not feel they belong in their neighbourhood. Most older homeowners – typically over four-fifths – feel that they belong in their local neighbourhood. Around four-fifths report that they are similar to people in their neighbourhood.

The vast majority of older-owners (97%) report that they like their present neighbourhood, and nearly one in ten (86%) say they plan to remain in their neighbourhood for a number of years.

Nearly one in five (19%) of older homeowners report that they would prefer to move. However, only 4% of older homeowners – or 21% of those who prefer to move – expect to move in the next year. Those aged 75 and over are slightly more likely to prefer to stay where they are.

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