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Renting in retirement: Who, why and where?

Thursday 7 February 2019 Data Insight & AnalyticsDemographic Data

Thomas Fletcher-Wilson's picture
By Thomas Fletcher-Wilson

There has been a lot of media attention surrounding the move of the retired population from home ownership to renting. I wanted to delve into the topic and analyse why people are moving, the benefits and ultimately provide some insight into this growing market and the potential.

“Research from the Centre for Ageing Better reported that 414,000 older people now rent from a private landlord, which is up from 254,000 in 2007. It predicts that, by 2040, a third of those aged over 60-years-old could be living in private rental housing.”

Why are retirees moving?

Property owners have spent large portions of their lives paying off their homes. So why has there been a 63% increase of older people renting from a private landlord since 2007? There are a number of reasons:


Large houses with numerous bedrooms are great when you have a growing family. When your children have left the home to start a life of their own all of a sudden elderly people can be left with lots of room but with little use for it. Not to mention heating, water and electricity bills will often be higher with more square footage to cover. Moving into a more manageable property becomes far more attractive when all is factored in.

Quality of life

There has been a major increase in retirement villages specifically catered to the elderly. It should be pointed out there is a distinction between care homes and retirement villages. Although many do provide support and some elements of care, retirement villages are a lifestyle choice rather than a health decision. There is a certain stigma surrounding care homes that is being blown away by the amenities offered in these new plush rentable locations. Cinemas, swimming pools, catering, security and even golf courses are now offered in an environment friendly to the elderly. Why wouldn’t you want to sell up and move!

Finanancial freedom

Property prices have increased significantly since over 60’s bought their homes and are worth a lot more now. A large amount of wealth is locked into your property and cannot be used unless you sell your home and convert into cash. If budgeted properly, this injection of cash can provide increased financial freedom allowing retirees to enjoy their later years. There is the benefit of security by investing in property but if you (and your family if applicable) are financially stable, there are also many benefits to improving your quality of life. There’s even shorter six-month agreements that are allowing retirees in the UK to follow the ‘snowbirds’ of America. As they’re often called, ‘snowbirds’ rent their homes for six months of the year and then migrate to another country to escape the cold.


Market Insight

I have focused my research on the South coast of England to analyse what companies should be looking for when trying to either find locations that they should be developing in. This insight can also be used for marketing purposes of established sites or reviewing the performance of current locations.


The map above shows the percentage of houses over £500K. The first port of call during this analysis is to locate areas of affluence. Financial stability is key in this situation. Although renting in retirement is growing rapidly it is imperative to make sure there are standards set and retirees can comfortably rent in their later years rather than being financially stretched. The South of England is a notoriously affluent area and as we can see the majority of houses above the £500K mark are located in the suburbs of cities like Southampton and Bournemouth. As you would expect there’s a high percentage on the coast.

This information is collected using CACI’s dataset ‘Streetvalue’ and although useful information to any developer, to really get an insight into the growing market I’ve used our ‘Up To Date Demographics’ to see the population percentage of people over the age of 65+. CACI is no longer reliant on census data and can provide demographic data updated yearly.


Using the map above we can now cross reference over 65’s with houses over £500K to find our target market. There’s a number of correlating trends as would be expected e.g. elderly also located in the suburbs around the city rather than the city center. But there are some key areas such as around Charminster & Dorchester where we see the higher priced properties in the East and the elderly population in the West. When we take a closer look at the south west of Salisbury although the properties are expensive there is a lower percentage of elderly people than expected.


For reference I have focused on Bournemouth and provided a map of privately rented households by percentage. As we can see home ownership is far higher in the south of England and there is a large target market. Despite this, I’ve also created a ranking of the top 20 census areas where over 70% of the population is 65+ and over 70% of the houses are worth £500k plus. 92% of properties in Poole have a value over £500K and 74% of the population is over 65, but it only ranks 7th on the table. It is also the only area used on the maps in the top 20 highlighting the size of the potential market in the UK.


The top five ranked areas

Using our data sets and insight I have identified the top 5 ranked areas:

Kensington & Chelsea


If you would like more information on the top ranked areas in the UK and how we created this insight, feel free to get in touch

There has been a lot of media attention surrounding the move of the retired population from home ownership to renting. Tom Fletcher-Wilson delves into the topic and analyses why people are moving, the benefits, and ultimately providing some insight into this growing market.

Renting in retirement: Who, why and where?