One in every four (26%) retired households across England and Wales is currently renting their home, according to new analysis of ONS census data by Prudential.
The London boroughs of Tower Hamlets and Hackney have the highest proportion of retired renters at 73%, bringing the overall average for pensioners renting in London to just over a third (36%).
Outside the capital, Manchester has the highest proportion of pensioner households that rent, with a near 50-50 split between owning and renting. Kingston upon Hull (47%), Norwich (45%), South Tyneside (42%) and Newcastle upon Tyne (41%) also have high proportions of retired renters.
In contrast, Castle Point in Essex has the highest proportion of pensioner homeowners, with just 11% of retired households renting. Fareham in Hampshire, Epsom and Ewell in Surrey, and East Dorset also all have retired populations where fewer than one in eight pensioner households rent.
Prudential research earlier this year identified a rise in retired renters, with many homeowners selling their properties in order to turn their equity into cash to boost their retirement incomes.
Stan Russell, retirement expert at Prudential, said: “These statistics help explain why many people look to spend their retirement away from big cities. Living in a home you own can be less of a drain on your retirement income than paying rent, however with property prices in many urban areas higher than in other parts of the country, it’s no wonder that in cities such as Manchester, Hull, Newcastle, Norwich and Liverpool the number of retired homeowners is only just higher than the number of retired renters.
“Pensioners who choose to retire outside major cities and go where property prices are generally lower can boost their retirement incomes and reduce living costs by downsizing. Many can also maintain a higher quality of life by remaining in a home they own rather than taking on the potential extra cost of paying rent.
“However, people approaching retirement should not rely solely on regional fluctuations in the property market to be able maintain their quality of life when the time comes to stop working. The simple advice is to save as much as possible into a pension as early as possible, and to seek assistance from a financial adviser or retirement specialist to help with retirement income planning.”