weekly blog--one for the ages
England’s parliament issued a white paper this week on how it plans to solve the country’s housing shortage. The government says at least 250,000 new homes are needed each year to keep pace with demand. One option under consideration: provide incentives to home owners over age 55 to downsize and make their current home available for sale to younger buyers.
47.2 million of England’s 14.3 million homeowners own their home outright and 85% of them are at least 55 years-old. According to the publisher of the British website, United for All Ages, which provides consumers with advice on how to downsize, 49% of the owner occupied homes were ‘under-occupied’ (at least two bedrooms more than needed).
In Britain, it’s estimated that only one in ten older people downsize while in the U.S. one in five do so. Those that want to downsize but don’t complain about lack of housing options, the hassle and cost of moving, remaining close to children and grandchildren, and having to declutter their possessions.
In the U.S., two out-of-the-box ideas that are beginning to circulate to help owners age-in-place…First, allow home owners to access $17 trillion in pre-tax retirement savings like IRA’s, 401K’s/403b’s and health savings accounts to make their homes more age appropriate. Second, provide tax incentives to businesses who develop products and services that make it easier and safer for people to remain in their homes and apartments.