Tag: Financial News

UK Business, Financial and Economic News #BizNews

UK News - UKBiz

Furlough and income schemes pay 10m people as bill hits £21bn

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/treasury-bankrolls-10m-people-as-bill-hits-21bn-bz6r52rrg

Business and Sports News from Mike Armstrong – See http://mikearmstrong.me

Gary Lineker has a message for Aston Villa and Liverpool

Gary Lineker urged Aston Villa and his Premier League rivals not to put personnel on the run. Match of the Day host said top clubs should avoid …

Gary Lineker has a message for Aston Villa and Liverpool

Business and Sports News from Mike Armstrong – See http://mikearmstrong.me

Cash and central banks: new research shows why fear could trigger the adoption of digital currencies

The Bank for International Settlements (BIS) has published a new report on liquidity and the future of payments. Research by the Swiss bank for …

Cash and central banks: new research shows why fear could trigger the adoption of digital currencies

Business and Sports News from Mike Armstrong – See http://mikearmstrong.me

Positive Financial News from the FT – Positive Coronavirus News #PositiveCoronavirisNews

We may have passed peak uncertainty and there is definitely a reason to start buying again — carefully

A food delivery courier passes a closed Louis Vuitton store, operated by LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE, in central London, U.K., on Tuesday, March 24, 2020. The U.K. is in lockdown after Boris Johnson ordered sweeping measures to stop people leaving their homes

A Deliveroo rider during the lockdown in central London. The company is part-owned by Amazon which remains a good bet for equity investment © Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

The writer is editor-in-chief of MoneyWeek

Everyone in the global financial market wants the same thing. They want to find a bit of data they can absolutely believe to be accurate and they want to use it to cut the risk levels embedded in their portfolio. 

Too bad. They can’t have accuracy on anything and there are no low risk assets to buy. That everyone knows both these things explains the hysterical swings in indices this week. By Friday, nine trading days in March had made it on to analyst lists at Bianco Research as the biggest one-day gains and losses since the second world war. No other month comes close. 

All is not lost, however. It is possible that we are near — or have even passed — the peak uncertainty bit of this crisis.

We know for example that Covid-19 cases probably peaked in China in early February, and now look to be peaking in Italy. We also know that China is recovering fast: according to Macquarie, coal consumption is at 95 per cent of the normal level for this time of year, traffic congestion is normalising and car sales are even rising again (slightly). The consensus appears to be that China is 85 per cent back to normal. 

We also have a sense of just how bad things were at their worst in China: industrial profits fell by 38 per centin February. So we have a rough — very rough — guide as to what might happen elsewhere, leaving aside second round infections. Think: a month of complete lockdown, followed by a few slightly easier months and, barring any new horrors, a return to a new kind of normal by early June.

We know one other important thing too: governments and central banks are prepared to blow more than the doors off our current monetary and fiscal systems to get their economies to the other side (30 per cent of the world’s population is in some form of lockdown). 

They are prepared to blur the line completely between monetary and fiscal policy, with unlimited money creation and spending, to try and replace the parts of the economy they have shut down. The new package from the US comes in at nearly $2tn, which is a genuinely stunning 9.5 per cent of gross domestic product — or what GDP once was. Total global fiscal stimulus now comes to about 3 per cent of global GDP.

You might not like all of this. You might note that no amount of cash can make restaurant bookings rise from zero when the collapse in growth is due to physical restraint. And you might be terrified of the post-virus consequences of what amounts to helicopter money, as there will be no option but to monetise government debt from here on. But it does at least provide a clarity, of sorts.

Passing peak uncertainty is not the same at achieving certainty. But some forecasts are coming back into the market. US earnings are expected to fall by up to 60 per cent over the next couple of years, rather than rise this year by 10 per cent or so, as was expected in January. And the GDP of most economies is expected to fall by something like 35 per cent during the periods they are locked down: this, at least, is what Capital Economics suggests.

What about equity markets? We have some sense now of where we are going. We also know that markets tend to turn three months or so before economies do. So should we assume that this has been the fastest bull-to-bear-to-bull turn in history, where some of the worst short-term fundamentals ever have been overwhelmed by the greatest stimulus package in history? 

In-out-and-in-again in just a month would be too brave a call. If this crash works like most crashes, there is every chance that we will test the lows again. Just ask any technical analyst! But there is definitely reason to start buying. 

The first thing to note is that even after the bounces of this week, equities are no longer expensive. So-called Shiller price to earnings ratios, one of the better indicators of long-term value, show that equities, particularly outside the US, are at 20-year lows at least. 

It’s also worth noting, as Pictet’s Luca Paolini points out, that while you might think you have just lived through one of the greatest bull markets ever, if on Wednesday you had looked at the last 10 years only, some 90 per cent of global markets were showing negative returns. 

It’s also hard to see the alternative to stocks. The bond market is hardly a long-term safe haven. Cash isn’t either: in the short term, too many dominoes are falling in too many places to be sure of the financial system. In a world of limited crisis hitting unlimited stimulus, inflation is also a worry. 

So buy for the long term, but buy carefully. There is a good argument that in a time of unbounded quantitative easing, it doesn’t matter what you buy. All equities, all assets even, will move in tandem. But why take the risk? In most bear markets everything goes down. But not everything comes up again. 

So buy the things that probably will. Market leaders with little or no debt, experienced management, operating in sectors that offer some relief during lockdowns. And think about the Fangs: Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google. The giant tech stocks that led the US bull market for the last decade had become so stupidly expensive that many thought they would also trigger its end. Instead they are the companies providing the few services we now really need. You can’t put a price on that.

For more on this FT article or other financial news please follow the link.

Positivity:

Business News Coronavirus News Positive Coronavirus News and Sports News from Mike Armstrong – See https://mikearmstrong.me/news

For Business Advice follow the link or visit one of our Blogs: Entrepreneur Zone | King of Marketing | The Voice of Social Media | Networking Grapevine | British Business News |

Business and Sports News from Mike Armstrong – See http://mikearmstrong.me

European shares take U-turn on rising virus death toll

European stocks turned choppy again on Wednesday with bourses across the region wiping off most of their early morning gains as a sharp rise in the …

European shares take U-turn on rising virus death toll

Business News and Sports News from Mike Armstrong – For other Business Advice & News see http://mikearmstrong.me & http://mikearmstrong.me/news/

Latest BBC News update…

Latest BBC News Update including Coronavirus News

 
 

First it was advice, now it’s an order. Boris Johnson has issued a stark message to the country: “At this moment of national emergency… stay at home.” Speaking after the UK death toll reached 335, the prime minister introduced unprecedented restrictions on everyday life, meaning people must only leave their house for one of four reasons – to exercise once a day, to travel to and from work where “absolutely necessary”, to shop for essential items, and to fulfil any medical or care needs. 

 

Shops selling non-essential goods have been told to shut, along with libraries and children’s playgrounds, and gatherings in public of more than two people who do not live together will be prohibited. The restrictions will be in place for at least three weeks and police will have the power to enforce them, including through fines.  Read the prime minister’s statement in full and get a more detailed breakdown of the new rules.

 

The BBC’s political editor, Laura Kuenssberg, says it’s still not quite the kind of total crackdown seen in other countries, at least not yet – no curfews, for example – and there will be a time on the other side of this crisis to analyse whether the government made the right decisions at the right time.

 

A reminder here of the symptoms of coronavirus and how you can minimise your risk. And here we answer 10 of your most-asked questions .

 
 
 

 
 

The World Health Organization says the pandemic is “accelerating”, with more than 360,000 cases globally and more than 16,000 deaths. But WHO director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said it was still possible to “change the trajectory” with rigorous testing and contact-tracing strategies. 

 

Many other nations have now imposed lockdowns along the lines of that in the UK. France is strictly limiting physical exercise and closing outdoor markets, and South Africa’s government is preparing for the worst. India is stopping all domestic flights, but there are particular fears surrounding one textile city.

 

In Italy, the worst-hit country, the latest daily increase in deaths was the smallest since last Thursday, raising hope that stringent restrictions on public life are starting to have an effect. The BBC’s Sima Kotecha describes the haunting experience of Rome under lockdown. 

 

In the US, where 481 people have died, state governors and city mayors are pleading for more help from the federal government. However, the BBC’s Anthony Zurcher explains why the president may be having second thoughts about following suit with a large-scale lockdown. 

 

Our live page has all the latest developments, while health correspondent James Gallagher looks at when and how life might return to normal.

 l.
 
 

 
 
 

 

It is clearly not a good time for the world and it is not a good time for relations between the US and China. President Donald Trump has repeatedly chosen to call the coronavirus the “Chinese virus”. The president and his secretary of state have both denounced China for its failings in the initial handling of the outbreak. Meanwhile, social media in China has spread stories that the pandemic has been caused by a US military germ warfare programme; rumours that gained considerable traction. But this is not just a war of words, something more fundamental is going on . 

 
 
 

Jonathan Marcus

BBC defence and diplomatic correspondent

 
 
 
 

 
 

The drastic measures announced by Boris Johnson are reflected in dramatic headlines. “End of freedom”, the Daily Telegraph declares. “Britain shuts up shop”, the Daily Mail says, while the Sun has a picture of a giant padlock with the headline “House arrest”. As the Financial Times puts it, the prime minister has been “forced to close Britain”. While there’s widespread support for the measures, there’s also a feeling that, as the i puts it, the prime minister has dragged his heels. The Guardian says he significantly “escalated his language” after days of being accused of “sending mixed messages about what the public should do”. Leo McKinstry, writing in the Daily Express, says the imposition of these “savage rules” will have been particularly difficult for the PM, who is “an optimistic liberal at heart, with a deep suspicion of the big state”, but he had no alternative.

 
 
   
   
 

 
 

 

Business and Sports News from Mike Armstrong – See http://mikearmstrong.me

Saturdays update from Morning Brew – USA & Global News…

Good Saturday morning. In light of the severe economic downturn we want to send a message directly to those who’ve been recently laid off or who are feeling insecure about their employment situation: We see you, we are thinking of you, and we will be your companion every single morning until you’re back on your feet.  

NASDAQ

6,879.52

– 3.79%

S&P

2,304.92

– 4.34%

DJIA

19,173.98

– 4.55%

GOLD

1,500.00

+ 1.40%

10-YR

0.857%

– 30.00 bps

OIL

19.84

– 21.33%

*As of market close

  • U.S. markets: Wall Street locked the door and threw away the key on its worst week since 2008. With stocks closing below where they were on Inauguration Day, the “Trump Bump” is officially over.
  • Stimulus: On Capitol Hill, the race is on to save the economy. Senate leaders were working on a $1+ trillion rescue packagethey hope to send to the House on Monday. There will be long nights ahead.

Hospital-style shopping cart

Francis Scialabba

Yesterday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered all “nonessential” businesses to institute mandatory work from home for 100% of their workforces. That means everyone from CPAs to “

 nyc | content creators” will be joining the fun of no-pants all-hands.

But who counts as essential?The heroes working in healthcare, public transportation, and grocery stores—further evidence that the battlegrounds in the fight against this pandemic are first the hospitals…then the frozen food aisles.

Big picture: While those who’ve ransacked grocery stores can go home to their 124-pack of Charmin, the 2+ million Americans working in supermarkets must report to the frontlines daily. And the hardest part of their jobs aside from staying healthy while manning a revolving door of strangers? Keeping shelves stocked.

Read this before you buy that 12th can of beans

Empty aisles might make it seem like there’s a food shortage in the U.S. But America’s meat, vegetable, and pantry staples providers will be the first to tell you there isn’t—there’s just a logistics crunch.

Because COVID-19 took us by surprise. While the grocery supply chain is carefully calibrated to stock stores with just enough of what they need, not even Amazon’s algorithms could predict this unprecedented fear-fueled buying.

  • “We do not see a supply shock in the sense of the availability,” said one UN economist to Bloomberg. “But there could be a supply shockin terms of logistics, not being able to move it from point A to point B.”

The good news? Producers are already rejiggering strategies to solve for eggs.

  • Plants that once made items exclusively for (now-mostly closed) restaurants and school cafeterias have pivoted to supply grocery stores.
  • Many producers are rerouting trucking fleets, keeping plants open overtime and on weekends, and hiring temp workers.

Looking ahead…some retailers expect panic-buying to come in waves. Now that suppliers and grocers better understand how we’re mainlining packaged chicken breasts, they might be able to keep pace the next time around.

TVs showing streaming platforms

Francis Scialabba

Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, and YouTube are intentionally cutting streaming quality across Europe to make sure the internet doesn’t collapse under the pressure of tens of millions suddenly working from home, schooling from home, and vegging from home.

The rationale: Grainy Steve Harrington is bad, but no Steve Harrington is worse. Concerned the network infrastructure can’t handle the spike in traffic, EU officials have talked with streamers about taking things down a notch to avoid internet congestion.

  • Netflix is reducing bit rates for a month, which should reduce traffic on European networks by about 25%. Amazon is using a similar tack.
  • YouTube is putting all European traffic on standard definition by default for 30 days. That could cut the data required to stream video by over half.

Big picture: Not all users will need to experience lower streaming quality. But everyone needs the internet. Knowing most home connections are second-string JV compared to the enterprise-grade internet serviceat workplaces and schools, government officials are taking preemptive steps to make sure we don’t break the only thing keeping us sane during social distancing.

+ Want to know how else Big Tech is handling COVID-19?Listen to this episode of Morning Brew’s Business Casual podcast.

Sen. Richard Burr

Sen. Richard Burr. Bill Clark / Getty

When you time the market right, you brag about it to your friends. When elected officials time the market right, people get suspicious.

Thursday night, ProPublica published an investigationshowing that Senator Richard Burr, the Republican chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, sold between $628,000 and $1.7 million worth of stock holdings on Feb. 13.

Why that looks sketchy:

  • The market began its downward spiral just a week later. And around that time the Trump administration was downplaying the threat of the coronavirus in the U.S. even as Burr reportedly raised the alarm in private.
  • Burr isn’t the only official under the microscope. Three other U.S. senators, including Republican Kelly Loeffler of Georgia and Democrat Dianne Feinstein of California, began selling hundreds of thousands in stocks in late January.

The response from the senators: We did absolutely nothing wrong. Yesterday, Burr invited an ethics probe and Loeffler said her investment decisions are made by “multiple third-party advisors without my or my husband’s knowledge or involvement.” Loeffler’s husband is the chairman of the New York Stock Exchange.

SPONSORED BY CARIUMA

Cariuma

Just ’cause you’re indoors doesn’t mean you can’t bring a little sunshine in with you. A simple way to do that is with a pair of bright yellow sneaks. Lots of people agree, because last spring and summer CARIUMA could barely keep their yellow OCA lows in stock.

CARIUMA’s vibrantly colored canvas kicks add some spark to your daily routine—even if that routine is taking place all at home. These comfy sneakers are a spunky way to get from your work desk to your snack cabinet.

They’re ridiculously comfy—comfy enough to serve as a pair of better-looking slippers. They’re eco-friendly—some of their sneakers are fully vegan, while all their shoes are sustainably sourced. And the vibrant colorswill provide a much-needed splash of positivity.

Score these shoes before they sell out again. Here’s an exclusive 15% off for a limited time.

The top free apps in the App Store yesterday.

top apps in App Store

top apps in App Store

Neal Freyman’s phone. Please call him, he’s lonely.

OPTIMISM 

All week, Brew readers have been writing in with inspiring stories of people working together to help those affected by the pandemic. We compiled this list to a) make you smile and b) give you ideas about ways to mobilize your own community. 

Stephanie: “To keep a local florist afloat, members of my community are sending each other bouquets. Once you have a bouquet sent to you, you send a bouquet to another friend, and then they send a bouquet to someone else, and on and on.”

Riley in NYC: “Sauce Pizzeria is delivering free pizzas to hospitals every day, giving you the opportunity to donate a pizza and they’ll match it.”

Perry in Reunion, CO: “A Facebook page was started in our community called ‘I Need This!’ It’s a place for community members to connect and help each other. Some people reached out because they need groceries, so there are others that go deliver what they need.”

Bridget in Portland, OR: “I want to give a shout out to Trophy Cupcakes in Seattle. If you order cupcakes for delivery to non-profits, underserved communities and others in need, they’ll pay it forward when they’re back on their feet.”

Pat in CA: “A neighbor printed a flyer and offered to bring food and supplies to seniors in the neighborhood. She put her two small children in a wagon and put the flyers in the mailboxes of her neighbors.”

Brew Crew: We put together a comprehensive list of ways you can volunteer and donate to help people affected by COVID-19. Please read and share.

And let’s keep the positive stories comin’ by clicking here.

WHAT ELSE IS BREWING

  • Illinois has instituted a stay-at-home order from 5pm today through April 7. More than 20% of Americans will now be instructed to stay indoors.  
  • Tax Day has been moved from April 15 to July 15. 
  • Disney made the Pixar movie Onward available for digital purchase last night. It came out in theaters just two weeks ago. 
  • Bank of America has hired 1,700 people this month in critical support roles at its consumer division. It’s also boosting pay for frontline workers at branches and call centers.
  • Airbnb, confronting significant losses, is considering raising capital from new investors, reports the WSJ.

BREW’S BETS

  • They revolutionized the office furniture game. Now, Herman Miller turns their revolutionary furniture capabilities towards work-from-home. Whatever you need to make your newfound professional existence comfortable and productive—from office chairs to lighting—they’ve got you covered. Check out their iconic array of WFH furniture here.*
  • Keep tabs on the world of e-commerce. WITHIN is monitoring the effects of COVID-19 on e-commerce verticals. Using data across their clients, they are tracking year-over-year trends to the pre-COVID benchmark in real-time. Check out their COVID-19 Retail Pulse dashboard here.*
  • Weekend conversation starters: for when you need something to talk about during your virtual happy hour…
    • How much toilet paper do you really need to last you through quarantine? 
    • Come up with creative ways to walk the dog, without going outside
    • Xbox One X vs. PlayStation 5 (Bonus: Animal Crossing vs. Sims)

SATURDAY HEADLINES 

We know, everything you read in the news these days seems like a Saturday Headline. But there were some uniquely bizarre stories that came out this week. See if you can spot the one we made up. 

  1. “OKZoomer is a new dating service for quarantined college kids”
  2. “TV medical dramas give their masks to hospitals to help fight the coronavirus”
  3. “Baltimore mayor begs residents to stop shooting each other so hospital beds can be used for coronavirus patients”
  4. “Astronauts on the International Space Station delay return to Earth: ‘Our quarantine has a better view’” 

Cherry blossoms in D.C.

Getty Images

To celebrate World Poetry Day, we wanted to leave you this Saturday with a message of hope. 

“Today” by Billy Collins

If ever there were a spring day so perfect,
so uplifted by a warm intermittent breeze

that it made you want to throw
open all the windows in the house

and unlatch the door to the canary’s cage,
indeed, rip the little door from its jamb,

a day when the cool brick paths
and the garden bursting with peonies

seemed so etched in sunlight
that you felt like taking

a hammer to the glass paperweight
on the living room end table,

releasing the inhabitants
from their snow-covered cottage

so they could walk out,
holding hands and squinting

into this larger dome of blue and white,
well, today is just that kind of day.

For more USA Business News & Global Business News or Coronavirus News, please follow the links.

Business and Sports News from Mike Armstrong – See http://mikearmstrong.me

People, Population & Community Stats from the Office for National Statistics / ONS

Living longer: implications of housing tenure in later life

Last month, we looked at how housing tenure had changed over time, with future generations of older people more likely to live in rented accommodation than they do now. Today’s article explores some of the implications this has, including

  • Amongst private renting households containing someone aged 60 or over, fewer than half have savings or investments. This compares with over three quarters of those who own their homes outright.
  • Not all those who own outright are well-off. While a quarter of older households that own outright had at least £50,000 in savings and investments, almost a quarter had no savings at all.

Go to the ONS release or read on:

1.Introduction

Future generations of older people are more likely to live in rented accommodation than today. In 2017, almost three-quarters of people aged 65 years and over in England owned their home outright, with just 6% renting from a private landlord. But people aged in their 30s and 40s are now less likely to be homeowners than in the past, and much more likely to be renting. If these trends continue, we would expect to see far more older people renting from private landlords in the future.

The implications of remaining in the private rental sector or still paying a mortgage later in life go beyond the financial implications of paying market rent or a mortgage into retirement. Housing quality differs across tenures and quality of housing can impact health. Accessibility and adaptability of the property to the changing needs of occupants in later life also varies across tenures. 

This article uses 2015 to 2017 data from the English Housing Survey to explore the implications of housing tenure in later life1 across four areas: 

  • finances
  • housing quality
  • health
  • the accessibility and adaptability of the property

Notes for: Introduction

  1. Unless otherwise stated, all results are for households containing someone aged 60 years or over. This is not necessarily the household reference person.

Back to table of contents

2.Main points

  • Among households in England containing someone aged 60 years or over, fewer than half in the private rental sector have savings or investments, compared with over three-quarters of those who own their homes outright.
  • However, not all those who own outright are well-off; while a quarter of older households that own outright have at least £50,000 in savings and investments, almost a quarter have no savings at all.
  • After paying housing costs, older people in rented accommodation have lower incomes than homeowners and privately renting households are more likely to be in fuel poverty than homeowners.
  • Almost a third of privately rented properties and one in five properties owned outright and lived in by older people are classified as non-decent overall, as measured against the Decent Homes Standard.
  • People aged 60 to 69 years living in the private rented sector are more likely to report bad general health than homeowners; differences in health above age 70 years are less pronounced as health is more likely to worsen for all at later ages.
  • Older people living in rented accommodation are far less likely to have moved home recently than younger people, suggesting that security of tenure becomes more important with age.

Back to table of contents

3.Financial implications

Income drops in retirement, as people stop working and start drawing pensions. Savings and investments may provide a buffer against financial hardship and unanticipated expenditures in retirement. 

Among households containing someone aged 60 years or over, fewer than half (44%) of households in the private rental sector have savings or investments, compared with over three-quarters (77%) of those who own their homes outright (Figure 1). Those who own their homes outright are also far more likely to have a large amount saved, with a quarter (25%) having at least £50,000 in savings or investments compared with fewer than 1 in 10 (8%) private renters. 

Figure 1: Private renters are less likely to have savings than homeowners

Amount of savings by tenure, households containing someone aged 60 years and over, England, 2015 to 2017

Data download

However, while older homeowners generally have lower housing costs, not all are wealthy. Of those paying a mortgage, almost half (45%) of households containing someone aged 60 years or over have no savings buffer. And while a quarter of those who own outright have a large amount of savings, at the other end of the spectrum almost a quarter (23%) have no savings at all. These may include some of those who purchased through the Right to Buy scheme, and are now asset-rich (own their homes outright) but cash-poor (have no savings and low pension income). 

Almost one in five (18%) households containing an older person that owns outright fall below the poverty line1. This could affect the ability to carry out property repairs and maintenance. 

Housing costs (mortgage and rent) are highest for the private rental sector and lowest for those who own outright. Market rent for households containing an older person is more expensive on average than a mortgage, despite privately rented homes being smaller (two bedrooms on average) than homes being bought with a mortgage (three bedrooms on average). Among households containing someone aged 60 years or over, over half (58%) of those renting privately pay over £6,000 a year (or £500 a month), compared with around a third (36%) of those buying with a mortgage and a fifth (20%) of those in the social rental sector (Figure 2).

After paying housing costs, those renting (privately or socially) have lower incomes than homeowners. Households containing an older person in the social rented sector have low incomes on average, so despite having small properties (one bedroom on average) and low housing costs, income after paying rent is still low. Around a quarter of households containing an older person that rent privately or rent socially have £250 or less left each week after housing costs, compared with 16% of those buying with a mortgage and 9% of those who own outright.

Despite having smaller properties and spending less on gas and electricity, privately renting households are more likely to be in fuel poverty2 than homeowners (Figure 3). This may be exacerbated by a combination of expensive fuel payment methods and inefficient heating systems. One in six privately renting households containing someone aged 60 years or over have a pre-payment meter for gas and/or electricity (compared with 1 in 33 homeowners), and prepayment is more expensive than other ways of paying (for example, direct debit). 

Additionally, a quarter of privately rented homes containing an older person do not have central heating (compared with 7% of homeowners), instead having storage or fixed room heating. Storage and fixed room heaters are cheap to install, but more expensive to use than gas central heating.

Notes for: Financial implications

  1. The poverty line is defined as below 60% of median income, equivalised for household size and composition.

  2. Fuel poverty is assessed based on the Low Income High Costs indicator as defined by the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government.

Back to table of contents

4.Housing quality implications

One in four (28%) privately rented homes lived in by someone aged 60 years or over were built more than a century ago. A substantial proportion (17%) of homeowners also live in older properties (Figure 4).

Older properties have higher maintenance costs on average and are generally of poorer quality. While financing repairs may be problematic for some homeowners who are asset-rich and cash-poor, homeowners have the autonomy to carry out maintenance and repairs on their properties. For private renters this responsibility falls on the landlord. This includes resolving vermin issues when they arise: 9% of older people living in privately rented homes have had problems with rats and mice, double that of homeowners (4%).

The Decent Homes Standard is a measure of housing quality that uses four criteria to determine whether a property is “decent”. If any of these criteria are failed, the property is classed as “non-decent”:

  • presence of a serious hazard that poses an immediate risk to a person’s health and safety
  • thermal comfort
  • repair
  • modern facilities and services

Older properties containing someone aged 60 years or over were more likely to fail the Decent Homes Standard (42% homes built before 1919 were non-decent compared with 11% of homes built after 1964) and among homes that failed, older properties would cost more to make decent (average cost of £9,038 for pre-1919 homes compared with £1,375 for homes built after 1964).

When measured against the Decent Homes Standard, privately rented homes were most likely to be non-decent overall (30%) and were also most likely to fail on every criteria1. This was followed by homes that are owned outright (21% were non-decent) (Figure 5). 

This suggests that housing quality for older people is worst for private renters (who are required to ask their landlord for alterations) followed by owner occupiers, many of whom are asset-rich and cash-poor, and possibly unable to finance improvements. While privately rented homes are most likely to be non-decent, there are currently larger numbers of older homeowners than private renters living in non-decent homes, because more older people own than rent.

Figure 5: Privately rented homes are most likely to be of poor quality

Failure of Decent Homes Standard and component criteria by tenure, households containing someone aged 60 years or over, England, 2015 to 2017

Data download

The Decent Homes Standard was developed as a benchmark for increasing the quality of social housing stock, which may explain why socially rented properties performed better than most other tenures.

The presence of a serious hazard and poor thermal comfort were the two most common reasons for failing the Decent Homes Standard across all tenure types. Poor thermal comfort (as measured by insulation and heating efficiency) may be particularly impactful in privately rented households, which are most likely to be in fuel poverty, have low incomes after housing costs, and one in six of which have an expensive pre-payment method of paying for fuel. Poor thermal comfort may be a factor in explaining why privately rented households are the most likely to have a problem with damp.

Notes for:

  1. Statistically significant for thermal comfort, but borderline for hazards, repair and modern facilities.

Back to table of contents

5.Health implications

Poor-quality homes that are damp, contain vermin and are difficult to keep warm can lead to respiratory and cardiovascular problems, and homes that are hazardous can lead to injuries, particularly falls. The cost of poor-quality housing to the NHS has been estimated to be around £1.4 billion per year.

The likelihood of developing age-related health conditions such as arthritis, sight and hearing loss, urinary incontinence and heart disease increases as people age. People aged 60 to 69 years old living in the private rented sector were more likely to report bad general health than homeowners (Figure 6). Above age 70 years, differences in health across tenures are less clear-cut as health is more likely to worsen for all at later ages.

There was a similar although less pronounced pattern for people reporting having a limiting longstanding illness, with private renters more likely than homeowners to report a limiting longstanding illness in early later life, and social renters being most likely to report a limiting longstanding illness at all ages. 

Social renters are more likely to report bad general health, having a limiting longstanding illness or be disabled than people living in other tenures. This is likely to be because social housing providers allocate homes based on need. 

By later life, people have been exposed to many decades of socioeconomic influences, which will impact both their health and the type of housing they live in. 

Older homeowners are more likely to be working in or have worked in higher managerial and professional occupations, have higher incomes and live in more affluent areas (14% of homeowners live in the 10% least deprived areas, compared with 6% of private renters). 

Compared with homeowners, those living in the private rented sector in later life are more likely to be working in or have worked in semi-routine and routine occupations, have lower incomes, live in more deprived areas (9% of private renters live in the 10% most deprived areas, compared with 4% of homeowners) and are more likely to live in poorer quality housing. Although there are many other factors that contribute health status in later life, a lifetime of exposure to poor housing quality will have a cumulative effect on health. 

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6.Accessibility and adaptation implications

As people age, if their health deteriorates their housing needs are likely to change and alterations to their homes may be required. The suitability of older people’s accommodation is an important factor in how long people are able to live independently. This in turn will impact levels of demand for health and social care services. 

An accessible property suitable for the needs of older and disabled people would include features such as level access, a flush threshold, wider doorways and a downstairs toilet. Since 1999, all new homes built are required to have a minimum standard of accessibility, but by 2018 only 7% of all properties in England met this standard. This is because most of the homes we live in were built before this policy came into effect and have not been retro-fitted to comply with the regulations that apply to new properties. 

Of the homes we will be living in by 2050, around 80% are already built, therefore many homes will need to be adapted to meet the needs and accessibility requirements of an ageing population. The ability to make these changes varies considerably for people living in different tenures.

Adapting a property to make it more accessible can involve installing additional aids such as ramps, grab rails and stair lifts or physically changing the structure of the home, for example, widening doorways and installing an accessible bathroom on the ground level. It is relatively straightforward for owner occupiers to make adaptations to their property as they do not have to obtain permission. This is limited, however, by homeowners’ ability to finance adaptations, which could be a barrier to those who are asset-rich and cash-poor. There are, however, Disabled Facilities Grants available to help with the costs of adaptations, with people aged over 60 years receiving the majority (71%) of the grants. Some older homeowners may, however, face other, non-financial barriers to fitting adaptations, such as being able to organise having the work done and finding someone they trust to do the work.

Private tenants in comparison need to request permission for any adaptations that may be needed to make the property suitable for their changing needs. Under the Equality Act 2010, landlords have a duty to make “reasonable adjustments” to the property, however, they are not required to make structural changes such as widening doorways. If adaptations are made without the landlord’s permission or they are unwilling to make adaptations, this could result in the tenancy being terminated. 

However, security of tenure appears to become more important with age, with older people far less likely to have moved home recently than younger people. Among people who have been resident in the private rental sector for at least three years, 92% of those aged 75 years and over were still living in the same property as three years ago, compared with 12% of those aged 16 to 24 years (Figure 7).

Given the seemingly increasing importance of security of tenure with age, older people living in the private rental sector may not feel empowered to request repairs and adaptations. According to the National Landlords Association, “tenants with accessibility needs report feeling intimidated to start the conversation about changes for fear of eviction”.

Those in the private rental sector may also be eligible to receive the Disabled Facilities Grant, to help cover the costs of alterations, but the tenant must be intending to remain within the property for five years. This is a potential barrier within Assured Shorthold Tenancies. Landlords may also be reluctant to allow physical adaptations, even if they are not asked to pay for them, because of the cost of removing adaptations for the next tenant. 

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7.Alternative futures

Older people currently renting privately live in homes that are more likely to be of poor quality, with higher housing costs than owner occupiers and are less likely to be able to adapt their homes to their changing needs. Owner occupiers who are asset-rich and cash-poor share some of these characteristics. In the future, if recent trends continue, more older people are likely to be living in the private rental sector. But the characteristics of the private rental sector in the future may be different from today.

Of the homes we will be living in by 2050, around 80% are already built, and 4.3 million of these existing homes in England are of a non-decent standard, however, existing homes can be improved. While around a third of properties in the private rented sector are classified as non-decent, and many owner occupiers also struggle to adequately maintain their properties, there have been examples of policy changes contributing to marked improvements in the social rented sector over time. Since the introduction of the Decent Homes Standard in 2001, the percentage of socially rented properties classified as non-decent has declined. In 2006, 29% were non-decent; by 2018 this had fallen to 12%.

A similar improvement in quality may happen in the private rental sector. Recent policy initiatives have introduced legislation that aims to tackle poor-quality homes and give renters a greater ability to challenge their landlords on unsafe housing. For example:

  • The Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (2018), which set a minimum energy performance certificate rating that has to be met for a house to be rented out, improving the thermal comfort of the private housing stock; from April 2020 this will also apply to existing tenancies, not just new tenancies
  • the Fitness for Human Habitation Act (2018) was introduced in March 2019; this enables private and social tenants to take their landlord to court if their homes are unsafe or contain risks that could cause serious harm
  • the Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector Regulations (2020) require rental properties to have a valid electrical safety certificate, which may reduce the presence of serious hazards; this applies to new tenancies from July 2020 and will also apply to existing tenancies from April 2021
  • In our analyses, 7% of households containing someone aged 60 or over were living in the private rental sector. On 15 April 2019, the government announced that it will introduce new legislation to abolish Section 21, which gives landlords the right to evict tenants on a no-fault basis; this may give older tenants reassurance that they will not be evicted if they request repairs or adaptations.

While these policy changes will improve conditions for private renters of all ages, many currently only apply at the start of a new tenancy. Most older private renters have not moved home or changed tenancies in several years (Figure 7). So while these policies will benefit tomorrow’s generation of older private renters, the 7% of today’s older people who are renting in the private sector may not have seen their effects. Our analyses are based on this 7%, and additionally relate to 2015 to 2017, before most of these policies came into effect. The experience of tomorrow’s older private renters may be different, as they will benefit more widely from these (and any future) policies regulating conditions in the private rental sector. 

The other group focused on in this article are asset-rich and cash-poor homeowners. There may be a different lending environment in the future, enabling this group to free up money locked in their homes to make improvements and adaptations:

  • mainstream lenders have recently started offering mortgage and loan products at older ages than in the past, which enable people to remortgage or take out small loans secured against their property, enabling older homeowners to make adaptations and improvements to their homes
  • equity release is becoming more common, enabling homeowners to free up money to make adaptations and repairs

We have shown that people living in poor-quality housing are more likely to be living in deprived areas and be in the private rented sector. Improving housing quality in the private rental sector, with associated reductions in poor health, would help to reduce health inequalities between affluent and deprived areas, an important government priority.

However, all results that we have presented are based on averages, and within the private rental sector (as other tenures) there is a lot of variation. There are also some benefits to living in the private rental sector at older ages compared with other tenures, including the burden of repairs and maintenance falling on the landlord not the tenant, and the freedom to move to a more suitable home without needing to finance this by selling a property first.

More widely, housing is related to many other areas of policy interest. Poor housing quality is costly not only in terms of health of the individual but also the for the National Health Service. Making more homes accessible and adapting them to the needs of disabled and older people would enable people to live independent lives for longer and so potentially reduce social care demand. Improving thermal efficiency of homes by improving insulation and modernising heating systems would reduce carbon emissions, helping to tackle climate change, as less fuel would be needed to maintain a comfortable temperature inside the home.

While our analysis has focused on households containing an older person, it is important to realise that poor housing quality has an accumulative effect over time, affecting people across their life course from young to older ages. The quality and affordability of the housing we live in is an important issue for all ages, not just the older population. 

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European Business News / EuropeanBiz – Will European Banks be able to cope with this Global Pandemic – Interesting FT Article…

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