England’s over-55 homeowners are sitting on more property wealth than the annual GDP of Italy, research from Age Partnership shows.
Over-55s hold £1.5 trillion worth of property, higher than Italy’s GDP of £1.4 trillion.
The UK’s GDP stands at £2.1 trillion.
Simon Chalk, equity release expert at Age Partnership, said: “A small fortune is locked away in the houses owned by the older generation in England. The total property wealth of over-55s is already in the trillions – it even tops the GDP of Italy.
“This stored wealth cannot be ignored: housing must become a primary part of retirement financial planning and we need to open up more channels to help over-55s benefit from it.
“Over the next 20 years housing wealth will become increasingly important, as the baby-boomers generation reach retirement en-masse.”
Age Partnership has forecast property wealth to be worth £2.9 trillion in 20 years’ time assuming house prices increase by 2% per year.
The population of over-55s is expected to grow by a third over the same period.
Chalk added: “Pensions will continue to cause a headache as the population ages. Adding property wealth to the mix could help alleviate that pressure. Equity release is already taking a starring role as it provides an alternative to downsizing but still enables over-55s to release cash from their homes.
“The FCA’s recent manoeuvre to relax the rules for providers who offer innovative lifetime products is a really positive step forward in recognising the importance of the equity release market and acknowledging the increasing consumer demand.
“As people continue to look for new ways to access their existing cash and assets as they reach retirement, keeping ahead of the curve will allow a more efficient and transparent process for all those involved.”