Statistics and projections produced by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) have long shown that the UK's population is ageing. Attitudes towards retirement are also changing fast. The new generation of over 55s don’t want to just stop work and relax, they want to enjoy a new lifestyle.
Property and lifestyle needs
Downsizing is not just about moving into a smaller property. Those looking to rent in later life are often attracted to a home that is more suitable to their changing needs, less maintenance and lifestyle factors that modern apartment buildings can offer. Many new buildings will come with a gym, swimming pool, communal area and even events and experiences.
The pandemic and property choices
The Covid pandemic has led to many people reassessing their life choices. For older people, a property that comes with less maintenance stress is high on the agenda. More people are also making this downsizing decision early on, keen to enjoy life while they are still healthy and active.
Change of circumstances
While raising children or in a career, many people feel that they need to stay in one place. As you get older, there is also more freedom to make the choices that enable you to have some adventure in life. Renting keeps your options open to move to a different location in the UK or overseas, move closer to family or friends and experience different lifestyles.
Historically, renting is associated with the millennial and younger generations. However, research shows that the average age of those choosing to rent is on the rise. As a tenant, you have more flexibility and can spend your time and finances on your lifestyle rather than on repairs and maintenance.
- Money saving - it is reported that it will cost between 1 and 4 percent of the value of the home every year to maintain the upkeep. The older the property, the higher these costs are likely to be.
- Your wellbeing – as you get older, it becomes harder to take on all the odd jobs around the house. By renting, you can pass this directly to the landlord or maintenance company.
- Free-up capital – if you are selling a property and decide to rent, this will free up capital for an investment opportunity. If you have children, then selling it will help to reduce the costs to your children when it comes to inheritance tax.
- Plan for the future – a fresh start in a new home that will suit you in the future as your needs change.
- Dream location – you may not be able to afford to buy in a city centre but through renting, you can experience the joys of city centre living for however long you want.
Before you start your search, there are some considerations to take into account before viewing properties.
- Non-negotiables – these are the things that the property simply must have. For example, pet friendly, parking options, number of bedrooms or close to city centre.
- Preferences – these are the things that you would like but could live without. For example, balcony or terrace, storage or leisure facilities within the building.
- The location – once you have found the area, go into detail by checking out the local transport links, signing up to local neighbourhood websites and visiting at different times of the day and evening.
Why renting is good for a flexible lifestyle
One of the most exciting opportunities for older tenants is the flexibility that renting enables you.
- Short tenancies that allows you to experience living in different parts of the UK.
- Testing co-habiting with a partner or friend with limited commitments.
- If you are still working, the opportunity to easily move where a new job takes you.
- One point of contact for all maintenance issues, giving you the time to enjoy the better things in life.
- Without large, unexpected repair costs, it is easier to predict your monthly costs so can budget more easily for travel etc.
- Find out what you really want from a property. Do you need that extra bedroom or would you prefer a city centre location and less space for example.
The future of renting for older people
Figures from the English Housing Survey showed that almost 1.5 million people that are 65 or over are now choosing to rent. Many of these retirees are doing so by choice, rather than being forced to. Future predictions put that around a third of people aged over 60 will become renters in the future and that the days of owning your home may be in decline. Recent research from Paragon Bank has revealed that over the last ten years, the number of households in the 55-64-year-old age category in the private rented sector with an Assured Tenancy has risen by 118%.