Friday, 12 May 2017

OAP Renters make for good tenants!

Recent statistics published by the Office of National Statistics show that there are 267,704 private rented households in the Country that are occupied by people aged 65 and older. This means 4.39% of OAP’s are living in private rented property. There are of course many more than are living in council rented or private housing association rentals.

It got me thinking two things. How many of these OAP’s have always rented and how many have sold up and become a tenant?  In retirement, selling up could make financial sense; after all it potentially allows them to liquidate the equity of their main home to enhance their retirement income.  I wanted to know why these older people rent and whether there was opportunity for the buy to let landlords of Falmouth? This was particularly important since our experience of retired private renters is that they make fantastic tenants.

The Prudential published a survey recently that said nearly six out of ten OAP renters had never owned a home.  Two out of ten OAP renters were required to sell up because of debt, just about one in ten OAP renters sold their property to use the money to fund their retirement and the remaining one out ten OAP renters, rented for other reasons.

Funding retirement is important as the life expectancy of someone from Falmouth at age 65 (years) is 19.4 years for males and 21.4 years for females (interesting when compared to the National Average of 18.7 years for males and 21.1 years for females).  The burdens of financing a long retirement are being felt by many mature people of Falmouth.  The state of play is not helped by rising living costs and ultra-low interest rates reducing returns for savers.

So, what of Falmouth?  Of the 3,028 households in Falmouth, whose head of the household is 65 or over, not surprisingly 2,338 of households were owned (77.21%) and 478 (15.79%) were in social housing.  However, the figure that fascinated me was the 131 (4.33%) households that were in privately rented properties.

Although a small figure, anecdotal evidence from talking to my team and other Falmouth property professionals suggests this figure is rising.  Putting it plainly more and more Falmouth OAP’s are considering selling their homes and renting something more manageable, allowing them to release their equity.  This equity can be gifted to grandchildren (allowing them to get on the property ladder), invested in plans that produce a decent income at the same time as allowing them to live the life they want to live. With early planning it reduces the reality of money earned during a lifetime of working going to the state to fund a care home. 

These Falmouth OAP renters know they have a fixed monthly expenditure and can budget accordingly with the peace of mind that their property maintenance and the upkeep of the buildings are included in the rent.  Many landlords will also include gardening in the rent!

Falmouth landlords should seriously consider low maintenance semi-detached bungalows or apartments close to doctor’s surgeries, bus routes and amenity as a potential investment strategy to broaden their portfolio.  Get it right and you will have a wonderful tenant!

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