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Last Updated: Saturday, 25 February 2006, 03:41 GMT
'Houses boost' for inheritance
House hunting
The value of property left behind in wills could soar over the next 15 years
Britons collectively could reap 360bn over the next 15 years from properties left in wills, a report suggests.

The value of housing assets left in wills every year may have more than doubled by 2020 to 32bn, a Halifax Financial Services report said.

Experts believe this may partially help those younger people who are not saving enough for retirement.

But they also warned the rising cost of inheritance tax and residential care could dent housing wealth.

Housing assets bequeathed could go up from 14bn in 2002-03 to 32bn, in current monetary values, by 2019-20, the report said.

It said housing would account for 60% of all assets left in wills by 2019-20.

The transfer of housing wealth over the coming 15 years would be the largest of its kind ever recorded in the UK, with baby-boomers playing an important part in this inter-generational transfer of housing wealth, it said.

Since the first baby boomers were born in 1946, the proportion of families owning their home has soared from 31% to 70% in 2001.

Pensions gap

The report said the prospect of growing inheritance would help to cover the pensions savings gap.

Ray Milne, managing director of Halifax Financial Services, said: "The amount of housing wealth inherited is expected to double in 15 years, reflecting demographic changes and the passing away of the first mass generation of homeowners."

But he added that no matter how much people inherited, it did not reduce the need to save for future retirement.

The report suggested south-east England, excluding London, will witness the largest transfer of housing wealth in 2019-20, with an estimated 6.5bn being left in wills.

It added that London would be next at just over 4.1bn, but Wales was predicted to have the lowest share.

North-west England would have the highest proportion of housing wealth transferred outside of the south, clocking up 3.2bn, it said.

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