10,910 Hastings OAP Homeowners Could Be Forced To Sell Their Homes As Their Energy Bills Rise

  • Will Hastings OAP homeowners be forced to sell their home as their gas & electric bills are set to double in 2022?
  • What can the 10,910 Hastings OAP homeowners do to mitigate this?
  • What are their options if they do need to sell? And what will that mean for the Hastings property market as a whole?

The wholesale gas price has tripled in 2021. Even if you aren’t on gas at home, half the UK’s electricity comes from burning gas so, this affects everyone. Even though domestic bills have been protected from the majority of this with the Government’s price cap, energy bills will rise by at least 50% in April. This means the average energy bill will rise by £60 per month in the spring, thus producing a potential cost of living crisis.

Why have gas and electric bills increased so much?

The cost of gas (and indirectly electricity) rose during 2021 due to a number of reasons, and the troubles are worldwide rather than exclusively affecting the UK.

To start with, the winter of 2020 was very cold in Central Europe, which increased demand for gas and used up many European countries’ stored gas supplies, whilst demand for gas also swelled in China and the Far East. On the supply side, many European countries rely on Russia for its gas, yet Russia’s supply of gas was lower than expected.

When will gas and electric prices rise?

The Government have an energy price which is the maximum amount your gas and electricity supplier can charge you. The energy price cap is set by Ofgem every six months, and the next review is this February. Any increases could only be introduced from the 1st of April 2022.

The existing energy price cap is £1,277 (for an average UK home), which was set in the summer of 2021 (and that was a 12% rise on the previous cap). Analysts believe without Government intervention, the February increase will be around 50% on that, meaning the cap will increase to just over £2,000 per annum.

That means there will be a lot of Hastings people that cannot afford the increase in energy prices.

Some have suggested the Government should remove VAT from gas and electricity bills for a year, yet that would only save them around £100 a year – but it’s still £100!

Hastings OAP’s will be one of the hardest hit by these gas and electricity hikes

For those pensioners who reached state pension age after 2016, their state pension will rise in April by £5.55 per week or £288.60 a year. Considering their energy bills will rise by at least £720 a year, together with the underlying inflation for goods and services rising at 5.4% on top, this will mean many OAP homeowners will have to make a difficult choice.

So, what is the scale of the problem in Hastings? 1 in 6.14 people in Hastings is an OAP

Of the 89,354 population of Hastings, 14,558 of them are 65 years or older, and of those, 10,910 own their own home.

However, as I have discussed several times in the Hastings Property Blog, many of those older Hastings homeowners are still in their original family homes even though their children have flown the nest.

They are living in large 3- and 4-bedroom homes with lots of rooms that require heating, even though they are not being used. To give you an idea of the difference of costs:

  • The average Hastings one/two-bedroom home’s energy bills will rise from £795 per year to £1,435 per year.
  • The average Hastings three-bedroom home’s energy bills will rise from £1,163 per year to £2,104 per year.
  • The average Hastings four-bedroom home’s energy bills will rise from £1,638 per year to £2,936 per year.

Therefore, I predict there will be an uplift in the number of mature homeowners in Hastings moving forward their downsizing plans throughout 2022/3 as they look to reduce their outgoings. The downsizing will also reduce other outgoings like their council tax and building insurance premiums.

Of course, many mature homeowners will make other choices. This could be a great time to look at other forms of heating like ground source heating and solar panels to reduce one’s dependence on energy from the National Grid.

You could ask a local Energy Assessor to perform an energy audit on your home by tasking them for an Energy Performance Certificate. If you need to know the name of a decent Hastings Energy Assessor, drop me a line or pick up the phone.

So, if downsizing is an option, what will that mean for you and the local Hastings property market?

A big issue will be finding a suitable home to move to. We very much have a chicken and egg scenario now as waiting for the right property to come on to the market, before you put your home on the market, will probably mean that your ideal property will sell even before the photographs have been taken of your home.