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Pension transfer values outstripping UK house prices

The value of pensions being transferred out of defined benefit (DB) schemes is greater than the average cost of a house in the UK, research from Royal London has found.

Pension transfer values outstripping UK house prices


A survey of 800 UK financial advisers found that the most DB transfers are valued between £250,000 and £500,000 ($639,405, €570,998).

This compares with an average house price in the UK of £216,000 as of March 2017.

However, the average property value in London was £472,000, while in Wales it was £148,000.

The research follows findings from Old Mutual International that fears that DB schemes may be unable to meet their long-term liabilities is driving demand for pension transfers.

Average statistics

The vast majority of clients transferring are in their 50s, and the typical cash sum offered is between 25 and 30 times the value of the annual pension given up.  

However, a quarter of advisers reported that most of the transfers they deal with are worth 30 to 40 times the annual pension foregone.

When asked the main reasons why people who have received advice want to go ahead with the transfer, the following were the top five reasons:

  • The ability to provide more flexible income in retirement: 83%
  • Large current transfer values: 78%
  • Inheritance considerations: 69%
  • Access to greater tax-free cash: 57%
  • To take benefits earlier than in the DB scheme: 44%


Advisers also reported on the main reasons which they give for recommending against a transfer. The principal concerns were:

  • Concerns about losing the certain income from the DB scheme: 81%
  • Investment risk associated with the transfer not appropriate to client: 65%
  • Transfer value represents ‘poor value’: 59%

Commenting on the findings, Royal London director of policy Steve Webb said: “It is clear that large and growing numbers of people are choosing to exchange the promise of a regular pension in retirement for a large cash lump sum.  

“For some people, the value of their pension pot will be greater than the value of their house. This makes it all the more important that people think very carefully before making a transfer, and take full account of independent financial advice before making such an irrevocable decision.”


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