Good news for buyers but the ageing nation still has little choice if downsizing

The Chancellor’s Autumn Statement introduced some positive changes to stamp duty, which will mean a reduction in stamp duty tax for 98% of the population. From last night, buyers won’t pay any stamp duty on houses valued up to £125K.

The tax will then kick in at 2% on the portion up to £250K, then 5% up to £925K, 10% up to £1.5 million and 12% on everything over that. It means people who buy an averagely priced home of £275K, will pay £4,500 less in tax than under the old system.

This should help to stimulate the housing market again, enabling older people who are looking to downsize to move into a property more suitable for their needs and make it more affordable for young professionals to get on the property ladder.

We were however disappointed not to see any mention of additional  house building for older people – an area where there is a major shortage.

Earlier this week, the government announced plans to build 10,000 homes and create a new town on a derelict RAF base in Cambridgeshire to help ease the housing shortage. It was also confirmed a new garden city will be developed at Bicester, Oxfordshire, with up to 13,000 homes for families, funded by a mixture of public spending and loans.

We do not believe there any mention of suitable homes for older people, which is yet another missed opportunity.

When the government announced its ‘Help to Move’ scheme to finance older people’s moving costs last month, we pointed out that the programme won’t work unless more suitable retirement housing stock is built in rural and urban locations.

Currently one in six people (10 million) are over 65 years old; by 2050 it is predicted one in four  (19 million) will be over 65. That’s a quarter of our population that is being ignored  under the current government’s housing agenda. This situation needs resolving to ensure the housing needs of our ageing population are met.

by Peter Girling, Chair of Girlings Retirement Rentals