Saga has hit back at “insulting” comments made by the FCA, suggesting that older homeowners should move out.
Speaking at a conference this week, Lynda Blackwell, head of mortgages at the Financial Conduct Authority, argued that Britain had an issue with the last-time buyer, rather than the first-time buyers that are so focused on by current policy.
“We’ve got a big supply issue in this country,” she is quoted as saying by the Daily Mail . “There’s lots of questions about whether it is right that the Government should focus on the first-time buyer when we’ve got a real issue with the last-time buyer. There’s older borrowers who basically pay off their mortgage and sit quite happily in a very big house. Does there need to be thought given to trying to encourage older persons to actually move away…?”
Saga, though, has said the comments are “unhelpful” and “insulting”.
“In the UK we really do face a housing crisis,” acknowledged the firm’s Lisa Harris. “However, setting the generations against each other or talking about “tackling older homeowners” is not just unhelpful, it’s insulting.”
“Older homeowners are not “home blockers”. They are people who have worked hard all their lives to live in the homes they love.”
“These comments, which were made as part of a panel discussion at a trade body event, do not represent FCA policy,” the financial regulator has since commented.
Nonetheless, a spokesperson for the over-50s specialists conceded that the UK needed to consider “incentives to help encourage those that would like to move”.
Saga has previously reported that two-thirds of older homeowners would consider moving out of their home, but were prevented from doing so by the cost of the process, as well as the availability of suitable stock. The firm suggested that stamp duty could be waived for such people looking to downsize.