OAPs losing £millions on value of homes
EAST Anglian pensioners saw the value of their homes fall by £362million last year, according to a survey released today.The figures from Economic Lifestyle, specialists in retirement housing and finance, show the region's 214,200 retired homeowners have each lost about £1,693 over the past 12 months.
By David Lennard
EAST Anglian pensioners saw the value of their homes fall by £362million last year, according to a survey released today.
The figures from Economic Lifestyle, specialists in retirement housing and finance, show the region's 214,200 retired homeowners have each lost about £1,693 over the past 12 months.
Its latest Pensioners' Property Equity Index will be of particular concern to the growing number of retired people who rely on equity raised on the value of their homes to help make up for any shortfall in their pensions.
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According to Economic Lifestyle's figures the value of retired homeowners' property in East Anglia fell by £362million to £34.5billion during 2005.
While there was a decline in property value in East Anglia, the region bucked the national trend, which saw retired homeowners in Britain see increases of some £48billion last year.
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Jack Thain, chairman of the Norfolk and Suffolk Pensioners' Association, said the survey was the latest in a series of blows to elderly people living in the area.
“Often elderly people can find themselves trapped in a large house where they raised their family and are now struggling to keep it warm and to pay high council tax bills.
“A fall in the value of property would hit these people very hard and the only answer is to provide a realistic state pension that increased in line with the cost of living,” he said.
Mr Thain said pensioners were hit hardest when the cost of heating their homes, food and other essentials rose much faster than any pension increase.
Reg Hartles, chairman of Protest Against Council Tax Suffolk, said the plight of many East Anglian pensioners is made worse by the link between property values and council tax bands.
“Elderly people who have paid income tax and National Insurance contributions all their lives should not be put in the position of having to sell their homes or enter into equity release schemes in order to survive.
“We need a fair and affordable scheme to pay for local services that is not linked to the price of property,” he said.