generation trapped

Colchester’s “Generation Trapped” and the £8.21bn Legacy

This week I’m going to look at Colchester’s “Generation Trapped” which follows on from last week’s post about the issues facing Colchester’s “Generation Rent”.

Attitudes to renting have certainly changed over the last twenty years and, as my analysis suggested, it’s likely to be a permanent change. Although a minority of Generation Rent do feel trapped the majority don’t which means renting is a lifestyle choice rather than merely the least worst housing option. The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) predicted the private rental sector is likely to grow substantially (by 1.8m households) across the UK over the next 8 years. With newly formed households continuing to choose the rental market, instead of buying property, the demand for rental properties isn’t going to slow down anytime soon.

My concern is for mature Colchester homeowners and landlords alike. As I discussed in a recent post OAPs in Colchester are sitting on £3.62bn of residential property but in that post I didn’t look in depth at the “Baby Boomers” generation (50 to 64 year old Colchestrians) and how their circumstances could affect younger Generation Renters. In Colchester, there are 7,301 households whose owners are aged between 50 and 64 years old and about to pay off their mortgage – that’s property totaling £2.25bn at today’s prices. There are also a further 7,573 mortgage free Colchester households owned by 50-64 years olds worth £2.34bn at today’s prices, which means:

Colchester Baby Boomers and Colchester OAP’s Are Sitting On Property Worth £8.21bn in Colchester!

Colchester Baby Boomers and OAP’s occupy 26,218 Colchester properties. Many of them would like to downsize but feel trapped in their homes so I’ve dubbed them “Generation Trapped”.

Colchester's generation trapped

Recently, the English Housing Survey stated 49% of properties owned by Generation Trapped are classed as “under-occupied” which means they have at least two bedrooms more than they need. These houses could be better utilised by younger families but research carried out by the Prudential suggests only around one in ten older people in Britain downsize, compared to one in five in the USA.

The growing numbers of older homeowners interested in downsizing are often put off by the difficulties of moving. The charity United for all Ages recently suggested many older people are put off by the lack of housing options, 19% by the hassle and cost of moving, 14% by having to declutter their possessions and 14% by family reasons including staying close to children and grandchildren.

Helping mature Colchester homeowners to downsize at the right time would not only make it easier for younger people to find more suitable homes but it would help ease the housing crisis nationwide – a win win situation. We really need more choices to encourage “last time buyers” to move.

This is where, I believe, the government needs to pro-actively encourage “last time” buyers to move. Perhaps Stamp Duty tax breaks for downsizers would help? It would certainly help if Colchester Borough Council and the Town Planning Department were actively involved, along with Colchester landlords and property investors, to help free Colchester’s “Generation Trapped” to suitable properties close to friends, family and amenities.

Do you have any ideas which could encourage Generation Trapped to free up properties for Generation Rent? Please add your comments below. If you’d like an informal chat about any aspect of property in Colchester give me a ring on 01206 862288 or email grahamwood@hometorent.co.uk. I’m always happy to offer a free opinion on any property you’re interested in – send me a Rightmove or Zoopla link and I’ll get back to you, often within 24 hours.

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