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Last Time Buyers’ housing wealth to pass £1trillion this year, new report from Legal & General reveals

Last Time Buyers now own £938bn of UK housing stock and will reach the £1 trillion mark this year, according to new research released today by Legal & General, the FTSE 100 financial services group, and Cebr, the economics consultancy.

30 Apr 2018

Last Time Buyers Report 2018

According to Legal & General’s research, there are now 3.1 million Last Time Buyer households in the UK, with the number of homeowners who have considered downsizing rising from 32% to 39% in the past three years, demonstrating the demand for better later living options for over 55s. Last Time Buyers make up over a quarter (26%) of all UK households over the age of 55.

The UK has a chronic undersupply of age-specific properties, with only 7,000 homes delivered to this sector last year making it the most under-supplied area of the housing market. Legal & General’s research shows that of the Last Time Buyers who had considered downsizing in the last five years but didn’t, 49% said it was because there were no suitable properties available, with a further 29% stating that the properties that were suitable were too expensive.

Phil Bayliss, Head of Later Living at Legal & General, said: “Last Time Buyers account for more than a quarter of the total number of households aged over 55. This report highlights the crucial role they could play in unlocking the wider UK housing market, further demonstrating the need for Government to recognise this sector through key policy changes. If rightsizers were able to move to a property more aligned to their desired lifestyle and needs, vast swathes of homes would be freed up for growing families and second steppers. This, when matched by the huge health benefits proven to come from age appropriate housing, such as a 50% reduction in GP visits and 40% reduction in NHS spend, means that increasing the number of properties available to these buyers is the most efficient way to help solve the UK’s housing crisis and spiralling NHS costs linked to our ageing population.”

Key statistics from Legal & General’s study of “Last Time Buyers” (LTBs) include:

  • Last Time Buyers say their optimal age to downsize is between 65-69 – down from 70 in 2015. This is a much more realistic age for rightsizing and shows a greater awareness of what’s involved and the benefits of making it an earlier proactive step;
  • The lack of suitable properties is hindering the rightsizing dream. The share of Last Time Buyers who have not been able to downsize due to a lack of suitable properties has nearly doubled from 25% in 2015 to 49% today;
  • 45% of LTBs have lived in their home for 30 years or more, and 29% of LTBs still live in the first property they ever bought. Just 17% of LTB households have lived in their property for under ten years;
  • 45% of LTB households live in a detached house. 72% of LTB households have no one in full time work (with most of these being retired) and the average weekly income for a LTB household is £632.
  • 13% of LTB households said they would want to free up money for retirement from downsizing. The top use of cash released from downsizing is for supplementing a pension.

Phil Bayliss, Head of Later Living at Legal & General, continues: “A large section of our housing stock – worth nearly £1 trillion – is under-occupied and owned by people over the age of 55. It is vital that the over 55s are able to make and act on the choices that are right for them."

A last time buyer is a UK homeowner aged 55 or over living in a house too big for their needs who would like to downsize


Inspired Villages Group is a best in class operator and developer of later living accommodation.  Creating safe, secure, social and comfortable village environments in which residents can celebrate the freedom of later life with flexible care arrangements, Inspired Villages offer an outstanding lifestyle choice for people whose existing homes no longer suit their needs. 

It is backed by Legal & General and has a total of seven village sites,  located in Warwickshire, West Sussex, Devon, Kent, Cheshire and Hampshire. With Legal & General’s long term financial support, Inspired Villages Group will continue to acquire several sites per year.  Creating vibrant villages on the edge of and within the UK’s towns and cities, it is looking to build where people want to live, close to family, friends and facilities. 

Its philosophy is to create beautiful homes, unique environments and thriving communities that are age appropriate and can support people in making the most of their wellbeing as they move through later life. The Chairman, and vision behind Inspired Villages, is Keith Cockell, who brings decades of experience in the conception and creation of retirement communities across the UK. The senior management team is headed by CEO, Jamie Bunce with the core management team in place to develop and operate a significant number of new communities across the UK in the next few years.

Further information

Harriet De Beaufort Suchlick

Harriet de Beaufort-Suchlick

Head of Corporate Communications

Legal & General Capital

Notes to editors

Established in 1836, Legal & General is one of the UK’s leading financial services groups and a major global investor, with £1.2 trillion in total assets under management (as at FY23) of which c40% (circa £0.5 trillion) is international.

We have a highly synergistic business model, which continues to drive strong returns. We are a leading international player in Institutional Retirement, in Retail Savings and Protection, and in both public and private markets through our Asset Management division. Across the Group, we are committed to responsible investing and dedicated to serving the long-term savings and investment needs of customers and society.

As at 7 June 2024, we estimate the Group’s Solvency II coverage ratio to be 224%.

As at 11 June 2024, Legal & General has a market capitalisation of £14.6 billion.

Legal & General Capital (LGC) is Legal & General Group’s alternative asset platform, creating assets for Legal & General Retirement and third-party clients in order to achieve improved risk-adjusted returns for our shareholders. LGC has built its capabilities in a range of alternative sectors, including in residential property; specialist commercial real estate; clean energy; alternative credit; and venture capital, which are all supported by long-term structural growth drivers, meet a financing gap, and respond to a scarcity of supply that is underpinned by enduring societal needs.