What about last-time buyers?

The Chancellor’s announcement on help for first-time buyers has met with mixed reactions. Although some first-time buyers will benefit from shared ownership loans for newly-built homes, the measures still don’t address the fundamental problems preventing the majority of younger people getting on the housing ladder.

The budget also appears to ignore problems at the other end of the housing market for what can be termed ‘last-time buyers’. Many older homeowners are finding it impossible to sell their home,  allowing them to downsize to more suitable and manageable forms of housing.

This is also important in terms of freeing up larger family housing, which is a key aspect of the debate around under occupation and making better use of the existing stock.  Some retirement housing providers are now helping older homeowners  to move through deferred payment, but many will have no choice but to put off moving for many years – if at all. Continue reading “What about last-time buyers?”

Enough space?

Housing Minister Grant Shapps recently announced an allocation of £13m to 50 local authorities to make it easier for older social tenants to move from larger family housing into smaller more manageable properties. Many councils are looking at how they can make better use of scarce housing resources and will welcome this allocation.

Despite this, some of us are puzzled by the Minister’s approach given that many housing options and advice services, working with older people, are already in place but struggling to survive cutbacks. Wouldn’t it make more sense to link this new funding into to current housing options services operating across different tenures? Councils are to receive practice support from the Institute of Housing to develop services but it is still unclear how this will link into existing services and networks already in place. Continue reading “Enough space?”