In the absence of any Government Help to Buy assistance for older people looking to downsize, Churchill Retirement Living is following the recommendation of a recent Demos study with its own Help to Buy Retirement scheme initiative.
The company is offering a ‘bridge the gap’ solution to its customers to help them make the move to a new retirement apartment with zero interest payable and no accrued amount payable at the end of the term.
Spencer McCarthy, Chairman and CEO of Churchill Retirement Living, said, “After all the talk beforehand, today’s Budget is a huge disappointment, and sadly it’s all too predictable from Mr Hammond. The changes he’s outlined will make very little difference to our broken housing market, and he’s missed the opportunity to shake things up and do something really positive.
“The government is still focusing far too narrowly on one end of the housing market. When will they realise that the only way to improve things is by looking at the full range of housing supply? Of course, it’s important to support younger people, but Stamp Duty exemption for first time buyers is just an attempt to win votes and won’t do anything to fix the market’s wider problems. We also need to help more older people to downsize – this would spark a positive chain reaction across the whole housing market.
“We urgently need some form of Help to Buy-style equity loan for older people who may need to bridge the gap or free up equity when purchasing a new retirement property. Since the Government is not showing any signs of providing that, it’s something Churchill has committed to offer ourselves to give vital help and support to our Customers.
“Up to a third of older people – around three million over 65s – are interested in downsizing, but only 186,000 retirement properties are available to buy across the entire country.
“The Demos report ‘Unlocking the Housing Market’ was published earlier this month highlighting the chronic undersupply of older people’s housing, and putting forward some excellent recommendations to help fix it. A Help to Buy solution for older people is one of those recommendations, so we want to show that we’re listening and helping our Customers even if the Government is not.
“A one-off Stamp Duty exemption for older people looking to downsize, and development tax exemptions for retirement housing providers are two other key solutions Demos puts forward, but so far it’s falling on deaf ears. Retirement housing creates enormous social value by enabling people to live more active and independent lives for longer, in turn providing significant savings across other areas of health and social care spending. It also stimulates the wider housing market by freeing up more family homes for younger people.
“Our own answer to Help to Buy is a short-term fix, but it’s time the Government took note of the real solution to the housing crisis.”