One in three homes falling apart and we can't afford to deal with it

Monday 6 September 2010

One in three homes falling apart and we can't afford to deal with it

British homes will remain unrepaired as owners can’t afford to fix them

More than a third (34%) of Britons over 50 say their house is in need of repair and over one in seven (15%) cannot afford to fix it according to research from Saga Personal Finance.

Following the recent report from the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), which states that the UK's poorest families will be hit the hardest by the coalition's emergency budget, the research revealed that women in particular are suffering financially with one in five (20%) forced to allow their home to deteriorate as they cannot afford to repair it.

Responding to growing concern over this wealth gap, Saga Personal Finance’s poll of more than 14,000 over 50s revealed that more than one in six people (16%) cite roofing as the aspect most in need of repair and one in seven (13%) say their drainage and guttering needs fixing.

When asked how they might pay for housing maintenance, over one in seven say they cannot afford it; half (50%) said they would use savings and almost a third (31%) said they would turn to their regular income or pension. Interestingly, fewer than 1% said would ask family or a friend for the financial support.

Other key findings:

· Many over 50s may be cold this winter as almost one in ten (8%) say their heating needs mending.

· London homes seem to be suffering most, with 42% of Londoners in need of housing repair.

· The Scots may expect a wet and windy winter as an astonishing 26% are in need of roofing repair.

· 34% of men said they would use their regular income or pension to mend their homes compared to 26% of women.

Andrew Goodsell, Executive Chairman, Saga Group commented:

“People are living longer which means that retirement incomes have to stretch a lot further to keep up with inflation. Many retirees find they need additional cash, whether it is to make every day life easier, fund house repairs, take the trip of a lifetime, or to contribute to care in later life.

For many equity release is the ideal solution to this, however until now the market has not listened to people’s needs and providers insist on charging hefty fees upfront, which prevent many people from being able to access their money.”

Saga Personal Finance has seen an increasing number of customers considering Equity Release as a way of enabling them to maintain their properties. Designed specifically with the needs of Saga customers in mind, the Saga Equity Release Plan was launched earlier this month.

The Saga Equity Release Plan, provided by Just Retirement Limited, is a lifetime mortgage with no upfront fees. It provides people with the option to release cash from their home, but crucially allows them to remain in their home for as long as they need it. The money can be used however the customer chooses – not merely for home improvements but for the holiday of a lifetime, or simply to make day-to-day life more comfortable.

Aware that equity release is a major decision, Saga provides advice from expert advisers to explain how equity release works and the advantages and disadvantages of the different types of plan.

If you are a homeowner aged 60 or over, call Saga to find out more or to be put in touch with a specialist adviser. 0800 015 6256

For further information:


Editorial Notes:

The survey was conducted from 5th 13th August 2010 among the SAGA Populus Panel of 14,047 people

*£425 will be paid to their solicitor on completion to cover customers legal fees, which should cover the cost of most standard applications. Customers will be responsible for paying any additional fees over and above this amount.

About Saga Equity Release

Not charging any upfront fees is a permanent feature of the Saga Equity Release Plan, not a short-term promotion, and is available for all standard cases. The Saga Equity Release Plan is only available via the Saga Equity Release Advice Service

The Saga Equity Release Plan is a lifetime mortgage which gives customers the flexibility to release tax-free cash either as a lump sum or in smaller amounts as and when they need it.

Customers continue to live in and own their homes and there are no monthly repayments to make. The loan only becomes repayable on the sale of the property when the last planholder dies or moves permanently into long-term care.

If the Saga Equity Release Plan is not suitable – the Saga Equity Release Service advisor will recommend another more appropriate plan – application, valuation and legal fees may apply.

The Saga Equity Release Plan is provided by Just Retirement Limited, a member of SHIP (Safe Home Income Plans), meaning they comply with a strict code of practice designed to protect customers and carry a “no negative equity guarantee”, which means that customers will never owe more than their home is worth, but equity release will reduce the value of the customer’s estate and may affect their entitlement to state benefits.

The solution to release equity from a home may involve a lifetime mortgage or home reversion plan. It is a serious decision and it is important that customers understand the advantages and disadvantages to make a decision that’s right for them. The Saga Equity Release Advice Service is provided by equity release specialist, Just Retirement Solutions Limited (JRS). They will identify whether customers are eligible for equity release and, if so, make an appointment for them to meet an equity release specialist or speak to them by phone.

The information contained in our press releases is intended solely for journalists and should not be used by consumers to make financial decisions.

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