Mixed provision in a mixed retirement market
A man recently wrote to my local paper objecting to retirement units being built near to the centre of the town where I live.
“There is already more than enough retirement housing in the town,” he wrote. “Do we want to become a community of geriatrics?”
He has a point, particularly as younger people are being priced out of the town’s housing market. The writer mentioned that he himself was a pensioner in his 70s so we may assume that he enjoys living in a multigenerational community.
But around the country the township demographic is getting older and yet the supply of ‘age qualified’ housing in the UK is only about 0.05%, compared to the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand where it ranges between 5 and 7%.
‘Retirement villages’ and the like are enjoying a period of growth in an economy where the elderly population as a whole is ‘asset rich’. Many oldsters are attracted by the lifestyle they offer but equally, many prefer to remain in the community in which they have spent the greater part of their lives.
The housing market is a mess, with younger people being exiled to the more affordable dormitory suburbs and elderly couples occupying four bedroom family houses in town centres. The self-pay market, both for care homes and retirement housing will continue to evolve as the asset-rich elderly generation passes.
We must hope that in the meantime, age-qualified housing models do not exacerbate the ageism already endemic in modern society.
- The CT Blog is written in a personal capacity – comments and opinions expressed are not necessarily endorsed or supported by Caring Times.