Yeovil’s ‘Generation Trapped’ and the £2.77bn legacy

Last week, I wrote an article on the plight of the Yeovil 20 something’s often referred to by the press as ‘Generation Rent’. Attitudes to renting have certainly changed over the last twenty years and as my analysis suggested, this change is likely to be permanent. In the article, whilst a minority of this Generation Rent feel trapped, the majority don’t – making renting a choice not a predicament. The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) predicted that the private rental sector is likely to grow substantially by 1.8m households across the UK in the next 8 years, with demand for rental property unlikely to slow and newly formed households continuing to choose the rental market as opposed to buying.

 

However, my real concern for Yeovil homeowners and Yeovil landlords alike, as I discussed a couple of months ago, is our mature members of the population of Yeovil. In that previous article, I stated that the current OAP’s (65+ yrs in age) in Yeovil were sitting on £1.23bn of residential property … however, I didn’t talk in depth about the ‘Baby Boomers’, the 50yr to 64yr old Yeovil people and what their properties are worth – and more importantly, how the current state of affairs could be holding back those younger Generation Renters.

In Yeovil, there are 3,325 households whose owners are aged between 50yrs and 64yrs and about to pay their mortgage off. That property is worth, in today’s prices, £765.8m. There are an additional 3,368 mortgage free Yeovil households, owned by 50yr to 64yr olds, worth £775.7m in today’s prices, meaning…

Yeovil Baby Boomers and Yeovil OAP’s are sitting on £2.77bn worth of Yeovil Property

These Yeovil Baby Boomers and OAP’s are sitting on 12,053 Yeovil properties and many of them feel trapped in their homes, and hence I have dubbed them ‘Generation Trapped’.

Recently, the English Housing Survey stated 49% of these properties owned by the Generation Trapped, as I have dubbed them, are ‘under-occupied’ (under-occupied classed as having at least two bedrooms more than needed). These houses could be better utilised by younger families, but research carried out by the Prudential suggest in Britain it’s estimated that only one in ten older people downsize while in the USA for example one in five do so.

The growing numbers of older homeowners who want to downsize their home are often put off by the difficulties of moving. The charity United for all Ages, suggested recently many 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 such as staying close to children and grandchildren.

Helping mature Yeovil (and the Country) homeowners to downsize at the right time will also enable younger Yeovil people to find the homes they need – meaning every generation wins, both young and old. However, to ensure downsizing works, as a Country, we need more choices for these ‘last time buyers’.

Theresa May and Philip Hammond can do their part and consider stamp duty tax breaks for downsizers, our local Council in Yeovil and the Planning Dept. should play their part, as should landlords and property investors to ensure Yeovil’s ‘Generation Trapped’ can find suitable property locally, close to friends, family and facilities.

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