A new report from respected specialist mortgage provider Paragon Bank shows that retiree renters and those in the upper-middle age category are the fastest growing tenant groups.
The number of English households in the 55 to 64 year old age category in the private rented sector with an assured tenancy has risen 118 per cent over the past decade, with those aged over 65 growing 93 per cent.
This rate of growth is nearly double the rate of the next fastest growing segment – 35 to 44 year-olds.
Paragon’s research also reveals that later life tenants are generally happier in private rented accommodation than other age groups and have lived in the rented sector for longer.
Some 68 per cent of over 55s said renting suited their needs or they enjoyed renting, compared with 49 per cent in the under 55 group. A strong majority - 63 per cent - said they were pleased they don’t have to worry about repairs.
At 576,000, those aged over 55 represent 16.2 per cent of privately rented households and this has steadily grown since the turn of the last decade, when only 11.3 per cent of the sector was made up of over-55s.
Paragon’s research showed landlords appear to be responding to this change in demand, with 21 per cent of landlords expecting to let more to older singles in the future and 20 per cent expecting to let to retirees.
This was second only to letting to professionals or executives/companies.
“There are a number of factors that may have contributed to the increase in over 55s in the PRS over the past 10 years, such as rising divorce amongst older people, poorer pension returns and men living longer” explains Richard Rowntree, Paragon Bank ’s managing director of mortgages.
“With the number of over 55s forecast to rise from 30 per cent of the population to 36 per cent by 2043 and new household formation predicted to be driven by older, single person households, the private rented sector will have an increasingly important role to play in providing a home for older tenants” he adds.
Other key trends unveiled by the research include the fact that almost a quarter of older renters did not want to own a home, are much more likely to live in single-person households, and to have lived in rented property for substantial periods - often 10 years or more.
Population forecasts show that by 2043, the proportion of the UK population aged over 55 will increase from 30 per cent today to 36 per cent.
The number of households in England is expected to grow from 23.2m today to 24.8m by 2028 and 26.3m by 2038, and it will be people in the 55-plus age bracket driving that growth, with those aged 75 or over recording the strongest increase.