Retirement housing failing to meet growing demand, says Knight Frank
Global property consultancy Knight Frank says current stock levels of retirement housing and projected demographic changes highlight a critical undersupply of age-appropriate homes.
In its latest report, The Case for Retirement Housing, the firm assesses the drivers of what it describes as an ‘imminent crisis’. There are currently 11.8m people in the UK over the age of 65, which is forecast to rise by 20% over the next decade. This means that the time spent in ‘retirement’ will also lengthen, underpinning the need for retirement housing.
The gap between the potential pool of demand and current supply is stark. Present stock (from age-restricted over-55s housing to housing with care) comprises 725,000 homes, which equates to just .2.6% of the total housing stock in the UK.
Knight Frank’s research suggests that about 25% of over-55s would consider downsizing; or moving into some sort of retirement accommodation. If this assumption is applied to the over-65s, with 25% choosing retirement housing over the next decade, there is potential demand from an addition 582,283 individuals.
Tom Scaife, head of retirement housing at Knight Frank said the forecast growth in the UK’s older population, coupled with a need for housing that could free up family homes and help alleviate the stress on the NHS and social services, meant that the case for retirement housing delivered at scale has never been stronger.
“In its basic form, retirement housing can help reduce loneliness, is a safer environment in a community setting and reduces visits to hospital,” said Mr Scaife.
“The scenario of falling down the stairs at home, commencing a cycle of increased frequency and finally, the need to go into a care home could be negated.
“With increased awareness of the benefits of retirement housing, clarity at the planning stage, and some much needed incentives retirement housing can be delivered at scale and help to tackle the social care and housing crisis in one go.”
The report also examines the property wealth distribution among the over-65s which varies by region. London and the South and East have the highest proportion of their population living in high value properties compared to the rest of the country. Overall, 2.2m over-65 households live in a property with an average value of up to £250k, 1.9m live in a property with a value between £250k and £500k, and 812,000 households live in housing worth more than £500k. On average, 68% of over-65 households have enough equity to buy an averagely priced flat in their locality with 25% equity left over.