Biggleswade’s ‘Generation Trapped’ and the £1.08bn legacy

Generation Trapped Pic 3

Last week, I wrote an article on the plight of the Biggleswade 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 Biggleswade homeowners and Biggleswade landlords alike, is our mature members of the population of Biggleswade.  Currently OAP’s (65+ yrs in age) in Biggleswade are sitting on £605.5m of residential property.  However, what about the ‘Baby Boomers’, the 50yr to 64yr old Biggleswade 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 Biggleswade, there are 775 households whose owners are aged between 50yrs and 64yrs and about to pay their mortgage off.  That property is worth, in today’s prices, £240.8m. There are an additional 497 mortgage free Biggleswade households, owned by 50yr to 64yr olds, worth £154.5m in today’s prices, meaning…

Biggleswade 156 graph

Biggleswade Baby Boomers and Biggleswade OAP’s are sitting

on £1.08bn worth of Biggleswade Property

These Biggleswade Baby Boomers and OAP’s are sitting on 3,220 Biggleswade 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 Biggleswade (and the Country) homeowners to downsize at the right time will also enable younger Biggleswade 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 Biggleswade and the Planning Dept. should play their part, as should landlords and property investors to ensure Biggleswade’s ‘Generation Trapped’ can find suitable property locally, close to friends, family and facilities.

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