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Poor pensioners have high levels of homeownership

Paloma Kubiak
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Paloma Kubiak

Pensioners with the lowest incomes have higher levels of homeownership than many of those with greater income, benefits and state pension.

In 2016/17, the homeownership level among retirees with the lowest disposable income (£7,619) stood at 89% – the equivalent of nearly 660,000 households.

This is 40,000 higher than three years earlier, according to the latest Office for National Statistics’ Household Disposable Income and Inequality figures.

The level of homeownership by poorer retirees is much higher than the 66% recorded for those with the lower middle income band (£17,493).

Analysis of the figures by Just found that homeownership by lower income retirees was almost as high as the richest tenth with an income of £55,365 – at 94%.


Stephen Lowe, group communications director at Just Group, said property is often claimed to be the best way to save for retirement but given the figures, higher home ownership levels doesn’t equate to higher income.

He said: “In fact, we see that both the poorest and the richest pensioners are among the most likely to own their homes, with those who live on average incomes less likely to do so.”

Lowe said the figures should make working people think about saving more into pensions as the most reliable way of providing an income stream.

Further, anyone struggling in retirement should check that they are claiming full state benefits.

He said: “It is worth pointing out that it is how much you accumulate in state, employer and private pensions that appear to make most difference to how much income you have in retirement.

“That’s a strong argument in favour of ratcheting up pension auto-enrolment minimum contributions and encouraging the self-employed to pay into pensions too.

“It is also noticeable too that the pensioners with the lowest incomes also receive the lowest benefits. It’s important they make sure they are claiming their full entitlement and not be put off making inquiries just because they may own a property.

“Overall, the message is that building up a pension is one of the best tools for delivering retirement income but those with property do have choices. Either way, people need to ensure they take guidance and advice to use their assets wisely.”