Almost 90% of lowest earning pensioners own property - ONS

Almost 90 per cent of UK pensioners with the lowest income levels own their own homes, according to new government statistics.

The latest Office for National Statistics Household Disposable Income and Equality figures, show that in 2016/17, 89 per cent of retired households on the lowest band, an income of £7,619 a year, owned their own property, equating to 660,000 households.

For those in the middle income band, earing £17,493 a year, 66 per cent owned their own home, while the richest, with an average income of £55,365 per annum, 94 per cent owned their home.

According to Just Group communications director, Stephen Lowe, the figures raise questions over whether your home should be seen as your pension, he said: “Property is often claimed to be the best way to save for retirement but looking at the figures it is striking that among the retired, higher home ownership levels doesn’t equate to higher income.”

He suggests that retired homeowners struggling on lower incomes should check they are claiming full state benefits and consider opening up capital tied up in property.

Putting money into property is still thought to be a good investment, as government figures for 2016/17 show that 49 per cent of people who are not retired think saving into property is the best investment, compared to 28 per cent who preferred workplace pensions.

Of those who owned a property, 23 per cent said they planned to downsize in retirement.

Lowe added: “It is worth pointing out that it is how much you accumulate in state, employer and private pensions that appear to make most difference to how much income you have in retirement.

“It is also noticeable too that the pensioners with the lowest incomes also receive the lowest benefits. It’s important they make sure they are claiming their full entitlement and not be put off making inquiries just because they may own a property.

“Overall, the message is that building up a pension is one of the best tools for delivering retirement income but those with property do have choices. Either way, people need to ensure they take guidance and advice to use their assets wisely.”

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