More retirement housing stock needed for ageing population

Topics covered: Ridouts professional advice

Britain’s growing elderly population is in need of additional purpose built retirement housing to meet the needs of the increased demographic according to research conducted by property firm Savills.

The over 65’s are scheduled to increase in number annually by 2% and the over 75’s by 3.2%. This would result in the need for an additional 18,000 retirement homes per year to meet demand. It is noted that the over 65 population has around £1 trillion of mortgage-free property in their possession. It is estimated that around 3 million over 65’s live in property that is unsuitable for their current needs. These needs are often borne out from deteriorating health which would be better met by retirement homes designed to specifically meet their care needs.

Interestingly in the UK 4.8% of elderly people live in retirement homes whilst the United States figure is 17% and in Australia and New Zealand the figure is 13%. There is a clear attachment to home ownership in the UK and also a stigma against going into a retirement home; the need for care outside of one’s home is certainly rising.

Neil Hudson, analyst at Savills said: “A much broader focus on providing homes to meet the needs of affluent older movers would not only open up opportunities for developers and investors, but trigger the release of equity – often to help younger family members onto or up the housing ladder – and larger family homes back into the market,”

The need for a range of retirement homes to meet the requirements of an elderly population is of increasing importance both to the care sector and the broader housing market. The UK’s domiciliary care market will undoubtedly continue to grow as the ambition will remain in the UK to remain in one’s own home as long as possible. Action will be needed to meet the increased care and housing needs and this is partially hoped to be achieved through an increase in purpose-built retirement housing stock.

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