Unused space in over-50s homes worth over £50k, poll claims

Participants typically have two unoccupied rooms in their houses

Astrid Hall
Tuesday 15 October 2019 11:16
Many respondents have transformed the empty rooms in their house into gyms or craft areas
Many respondents have transformed the empty rooms in their house into gyms or craft areas

The average over 50 is sitting on the equivalent of £56,574 worth of unused space in their home, a new survey claims.

A study of 2,000 over-50s found that once the respondents’ children had moved out, they were left with an average of 34 square metres of empty space.

With a typical house size of 165.6 square metres and the average house price coming in at £276,393, each square metre equates to the value of £1,669.

Participants had on average two unoccupied rooms in their house.

But after two years and seven months of their property going untouched, many of the adults polled had transformed this space into a personal gym, office or craft room.

Mark Gregory, founder and CEO of Equity Release Supermarket, which commissioned the research, said: “One option for empty nesters to raise equity is to simply sell the family home and down-size.

“However, with a reluctance to say goodbye to all those memories, many, incorrectly believe that downsizing is the only way to release their financial security tied up in a property, when the reality is that equity release can be an alternative solution.

“The research highlighted that many over-50s are effectively sitting on thousands of pounds of wasted space and – with the aid of equity release – could be used to ease people’s financial situation, enhance retirement or enable them to explore various other opportunities in later life.”

Support free-thinking journalism and attend Independent events

The survey also showed one third were planning to give money to their children in their later years.

One fifth planned on giving some of their wealth on their grandchildren, while 38 per cent wanted to spend their money on holidays to make the most of their retirement.

However, half of those surveyed still worried about their financial future.

Although the average over 50 has £18,113 sitting in their bank account, a third of respondents had less than £7,500 in savings, leaving them with a smaller safety net beyond their pension or other assets.


Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

View comments