Charity calls for help freeing up family homes

 
Houses The report says existing housing stock must be used "much more effectively and to the benefit of all"

Older people should be encouraged to move into smaller homes to help tackle the "housing crisis", a charity says.

The Intergenerational Foundation calls for tax breaks to encourage downsizing and help free up some of the estimated 25 million unused bedrooms in England.

More than half of over-65s are in homes with two or more spare bedrooms, which could be used by families, says its report based on government figures.

Ministers said they did not believe in "bullying" people out of their homes.

The foundation (IF) is a new group set up to campaign on financial issues, particularly those affecting younger people, such as affordable housing and job prospects.

It says that while many people are living longer and staying in what was once their family home, younger families are being squeezed into smaller properties.

"The 'housing crisis' is increasingly an issue of how our housing stock is shared between younger and older generations," said IF co-founder Angus Hanton.

"The divide between the housing 'haves' and 'have nots' has moved from being one dominated by wealth or class to one dominated by age."

'Real problems'

The report, entitled Hoarding of Housing, said that 37% of homes in England - about eight million - were under-occupied - meaning they had at least two unused bedrooms. This is up from 20% four decades ago.

After steady growth in home ownership since World War II in England, it has been in decline since 2003.

This is because ownership among under-35s is falling faster than it is rising among over-65s, IF said.

Start Quote

We will work with families to ensure that housing becomes more affordable over time”

End Quote Grant Shapps Housing minister

"It is perfectly understandable that retired people cling to their home long after it has outlived its usefulness as a place to bring up a family in," said report co-author Matthew Griffiths.

"But there are profound social consequences of their actions which are now causing real problems in a country where new house-building is almost non-existent."

IF suggested encouraging older people to downsize by exempting over-60s from stamp duty when they sold to move to a smaller home.

The campaign group also urged the government to consider replacing council tax with "a proper land tax, to reflect the social cost of occupying housing, particularly housing that is larger than one's needs".

Housing Minister Grant Shapps said: "Whilst this report makes interesting reading, we do not agree that people should be taxed or bullied out of their homes.

"Instead we will work with families to ensure that housing becomes more affordable over time."

He pointed out that £13m was being provided to councils to make it easier for tenants to move from larger to smaller homes.

The FirstBuy scheme had been introduced to help people get on the property ladder, Mr Shapps added, and house building programmes were going to deliver 370,000 new homes.

 

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  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 902.

    Smaller homes are cheaper to heat and maintain and are perfect for singles or couples.
    The problem is that very few are available and if everyone "downgrades" it increases demand which is great for entrepreneurs and developers but bad for single people working on minimum wage.

    All that would be left for them are bedsits in rough areas living alongside full to capacity government homeless units.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 901.

    @898. Virtualvalkyrie
    ......If you can't sleep at night you can put the light on and read without disturbing your partner. Then you need a study/computer room and a spare room for visiting friends & family.

    And while your at it why not a library, a billiard room, a sewing room and a dedicated room for your matchbox collection. Try and understand that some families have to live in B & Bs

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 900.

    823. justanotherworkerbee

    How about the greedy buy to let landlords give up some of their properties? how rich do they need to be?"

    ----

    Why don't you give up all your possessions to the needy? Lead the way!

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 899.

    Here we go again...
    You've got it, I want it, give it to me now!
    Darned if I will - I worked almost half a century to own my own house, and I make good use of the 'spare' rooms as a study and for visitors. Blowed if I'm going to give it up at the behest of some loony leftist group masquerading as a charity.
    I'll sell and downsize when it suits my circumstances.

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 898.

    Many older couples have separate bedrooms because one or both have health problems. If you can't sleep at night you can put the light on and read without disturbing your partner. Then you need a study/computer room and a spare room for visiting friends & family. Both worked all our lives, contributed to pensions, still pay tax. Why should we be dictated to? Is this Stalinist Russia?

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 897.

    892.
    Tanglewood

    How, I wonder, does an organization whose website suggests that it is nothing more than a mouthpiece for the Stalinist wing of the Labour party qualify as a charity?

    "Suggestion" is far too mild! That organistaion should be shut down ~ Now.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 896.

    886.spluffy

    If you bought your house 20 years ago it would have been considerably cheaper (even allowing for general inflation).

    Not all young people are work-shy feckless morons. Some are, but then again so are many older people.

    I'm entering my thirties and would like to have kids - I just need somewhere to put them. I have good job and pay my own way. I have no debt.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 895.

    @884. Mick Hodd
    However our house has been on the market (in what we have been told is a sought after area) for over a year and we have not had one person view it.

    Then it is grossly over priced. Drop the price until you get an offer and don't be so greedy.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 894.

    I am an older person, and yest I think we should be pressurised (not forced) into downsizing. I am doing it now because I simply do not need a house the size of the one I have now and to stay in it, with the overheads of heating, maintenance, etc would be foolish. However, some people have a sentimental attachment to rotting old homes .....

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 893.

    If children didn't choose to leave home then there wouldn't be this bitterness towards the older generation. In many parts of Europe the family house remained intact and it was handed down through the generations - young people can't really have it both ways.There is a breakdown of the family and an envy of the older generations. hyreshuotmymt rN nentnlw ee ooc ld

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 892.

    How, I wonder, does an organization whose website suggests that it is nothing more than a mouthpiece for the Stalinist wing of the Labour party qualify as a charity? They seem typical of the "whining teenager" trend in left-wing politics:

    - some people earn more than others ... "IT'S NOT FAIR!"
    - some people own bigger houses than others ... "IT'S NOT FAIR!"
    - etc. etc.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 891.

    Not at all!! Why the hell should older people move into smaller properties, after having worked for everything they have got, unlike many in this country living in large houses having never worked for them, either on benefits or immigrants. It is the framework put down by older people which now enables the young to so systematically abuse the systems their forefathers fought so hard for!

  • rate this
    +6

    Comment number 890.

    Having read most of the comments on here i have concluded that we are all 'me me me' regardless of age and generation. However on a personal note i am not going to apologise for this as i will never give up something that i own and have paid for just because someone else can't afford one. I haven't changed my car for 10 years can i have yours please - thought not!

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 889.

    I will gladly downsize, again, when my 2 adult children are settled. In the meantime this is still their home. They work & have rented privately which did not leave them any money to put into saving so they are both (+ one partner) back home to save. I would rather live in a smaller more manageable house/flat & help my kids when I am still around for them.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 888.

    In my area the council has knocked down many THOUSANDS of houses and not built a single one.
    These were deemed "environmental unfriendly" or in other words.. not modern, small, rain/sewage separate.

    Now we are in recession can a rebuild be affordable?

    See a council officer for a house...
    Foreign incomers have priority to those already housed even if it is cramped and technically illegal.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 887.

    Moving home is stressful. If an elderly person pays for a 2-bedroom home, why should that person be forced out?

    The housing problem has been caused by
    1. People with more than one home who can afford to pay more money for another home than poor people in the area.
    2. Labour's policy of encouraging non-working people to have more children and having a free home for life with 1 room per child.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 886.

    Milk I know you dont want to hear it but it is still doable when my mates were having nights out flash cars holidays etc I was saving and paying down my mortgage now at 44 im debt free mortgage free and looking forward to my car , most of my mates wish they had done the same

  • rate this
    -4

    Comment number 885.

    880.Mark

    Why should the young have to subsidise the healthcare and pensions of a record sized elderly population (who will live longer than ever before) out of general taxation while said older generation sit on a record amount of wealth (a large proportion of which has been derived from house price inflation) which is untaxed?

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 884.

    If the government / council / anybody??? would like to pay my wife and I £300,000 for our 3 bedroom house then we would be delighted to move to a one bedroom flat over looking the Sea. However our house has been on the market (in what we have been told is a sought after area) for over a year and we have not had one person view it.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 883.

    Why should they have to down size. In general they have worked danm hard and gone without a lot to buy there home. Anyway, who of the middle classes or working class could afford a 4 or 5 bedroom house these days, Most canna even afford a flat.The biggest problem is: we are over populated by 20 million NZ. same size as UK 4.1 million Population. At times I feel a foreigner in MY birth country.

 

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