One in four over 50s worry cash will run out but new data reveals they have £127,000 tied up in their homes.

New research fromSunLife has revealed that many over 50s are struggling financially and have concerns about the future; one in four say they are worse off than they expected to be at this time in their lives and are worried their money will run out before they die. Of those still working, 43% say they don’t think they will have enough money for retirement while 10% say they ‘don’t know’. Amongst those that are already retired or semi-retired, 15% don’t think they have enough money to last.

Homeowners over 50 typically have almost £130,000 in property equity and found that on average, they bought their current home 20 years ago for £113,365, and that it is now worth, on average £240,681, meaning their home has more than doubled in value and they have £127,316 tied up in the value of their homes. For those in their 70s, the average increase is £146,291 or 153%.

Over 50s in London have seen the value of their homes rise the most – by £210,863 on average from £145,714 in 1998 to £356,577 today.

Outside of London, the over 50s who have seen their homes rise the most in value are those in East Anglia; the average over 50s homeowner in the region bought their home 21 years ago for £123,501 and has seen that climb in value to £302,038, an increase of £178,537, or 145%.

And while over 50s in the North West have not seen the highest increases in cash terms, in terms of percentage rise, they have seen the largest increase; the average over 50 in the North West paid £78,571 for their home in 1999 and it is now worth £199,239, an increase of £120,668 which is 154%.

The lowest in terms of percentage is the North East – the average of 50 there has seen their home increase in value by 64%, the lowest after Scotland (73%), from £84,523 in 2001 to £138,403 now. (full tables at end of release)

SunLife’s research shows that many older homeowners have a considerable amount tied up in their homes, and most (72%) are mortgage-free, meaning all that equity is theirs.

One solution is to sell and either downsize, or move to a cheaper area, to access that cash, but most over 50s simply don’t want to move.

Simon Stanney, Equity Release Director at SunLife said “We surveyed more than 1,000 homeowners over 50, and when asked how they feel about their home, more than half said, ‘I love my home and I can’t see myself moving in my lifetime”.

“The most common reasons why over 50s don’t want to move are because they love the area they live in, that they are close to friends and family and their homes hold too many memories. Other reasons include the fact that moving is too stressful and expensive.”