The rise of the forever home: Over 50s use equity release to avoid moving out

Posted in: Corporate

  • The pandemic has made 76% of over 50s less likely to move out of their homes
  • Having a garden during lockdown and gaining a new appreciation for their home has influenced the decision to stay for life
  • 60% of over 50s say they are unlikely to move out of their house in future
  • Almost a quarter (24%) of those who aren’t looking to move are considering equity release to help them adapt their forever homes and avoid needing to downsize or relocate

The experiences of the past 18 months mean three-quarters of over 50s (76%) are now more likely to stay in their current home for life.

New research from financial provider OneFamily shows that one impact of the pandemic is that over 50s are less likely to relocate. Having had a garden during lockdown was a factor in the choice to stay for more than half (53%), while 26% simply realised how much they love their home, having spent more time indoors recently.

Family ties play a role in not wanting to move too. One in four (23%) over-50s, are keen on keeping space at home for loved ones to visit, after being apart during the last 18 months, while a fifth (21%) want to remain in their current house in order to pass it on to family someday.

On the financial side, factors such as high house prices (10%), as well as the hassle and cost that the moving process can involve (31%) are major influences on the decision to stay put.

Three in five (60%) over-50s say they are unlikely to move house any time soon. Of these, one in four (24%) would consider taking out equity release to free up cash from the value of their property, helping them to remain in the familiarity of their home rather than needing to downsize or move to accommodate needs in later life.

Driving this, 17% say they would rather spend money to make their house more accessible than relocate. The same proportion (17%) say they would be very reluctant to move to a smaller warden-assisted flat or care home in old age. While one in 20 over 50s has already taken out equity release (5%), this appetite for renovation rather than relocation could drive new uptake.

Paul Bridgwater, Head of Products at OneFamily, said:

“One side effect of the pandemic is that homeowners have grown more attached to where they are living. Whether that’s down to having appreciated access to green space, or more intangible factors like family ties and memories attached to a home, our research suggests people seem to be more reluctant to look into downsizing or relocating than they were before.

“But staying in a forever home can mean extra expenses. As such, we may be set to see a rise in equity release uptake to fund renovations and adjustments to improve or adapt homes to allow for the more complex needs of later life.

“Taking out equity release is a decision to be weighed up carefully with input from family members. It won’t be the right solution for everyone but if this trend for staying in the family home continues to grow, advisers will play a key role in helping over-50s explore their options and make the right choices.”