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Supply of retirement communities needs to be boosted by a third over the next 20 years to keep up with demographic change, finds new report

 

A new report to be released shows that the supply of retirement communities will need to increase by a third by 2040 to keep up with projected trends due to population ageing in England, finds new report. This expected change will occur in all regions of England, with the largest growth in London – meaning one additional retirement property for every existing two will be needed just to keep up. Important growth opportunities for the sector will come from projected increases in households made up of multiple adults – mainly couples

photo: lendingworks.co.uk

New research launched today by the International Longevity Centre UK (ILC) – the UK’s specialist think tank on the impact of longevity on society – highlights that population ageing will lead to increasing numbers of people suited for retirement communities – housing designed specifically with emerging care needs in mind – in England over the next 20 years:

  • To keep up with age-related growth, the sector will need to boost the supply of retirement communities by over a third by 2040 – and there’s no time to delay, as an 8.8% growth will be needed by 2025 alone.

  • The target age demographic for retirement communities will increase in numbers by nearly 10% in most English regions in the next five years alone. The largest growth will be seen in London, where the sector will need to supply one additional property for every two just to keep up with this trend.

  • Retirement housing for single women will continue to dominate the sector, but trends in single men and multi-adult households – mainly couples – will increasingly create significant market opportunity over the next 20 years.

“The ICL’s report sets out a tremendous opportunity for the retirement housing sector over the coming decades, with demographic changes, a strong financial underpinning and shifting cultural attitudes all likely to raise demand significantly."    Peter Aldous MP 

While it is too early to know the concrete, long-term impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on England’s housing market, the report argues for optimism in the retirement community sector. Growing housing equity may well-position future cohorts of homeowners to afford moves into retirement communities and further drive increased demand.

 

The report also argues that, in addition to demographic and financial trends, what people want – preferences such as satisfaction with housing and a desire to age in place – are a key driver of demand for retirement housing.

ILC calls on the retirement community sector to adapt to these trends and take advantage of the growth opportunities available in the future.

Peter Aldous MP, Chair of the APPG on housing and care for older people, added:

“The ICL’s report sets out a tremendous opportunity for the retirement housing sector over the coming decades, with demographic changes, a strong financial underpinning and shifting cultural attitudes all likely to raise demand significantly.  

However, as the report also demonstrates, stakeholders within the sector must adapt their approaches to ensure that they can not only meet this increased demand but provide a supply of housing which caters for the needs of residents. 

The findings of this report are particularly pertinent for my constituency of Waveney, where the retired population exceeds the national average."

Jane Ashcroft CBE, Chief Executive of Anchor Hanover, said:

“The changing needs of our ageing society mean demand for specialist housing and care is strong and growing. We need to increase the number of options available to older people in the post-pandemic world.

The focus should not just be on building homes but building the right homes, which can aid the economic recovery and the delivery of vital services.

Addressing later-living housing needs and providing a wider range of options for older people will help all generations fulfil their aspirations.”  

Michael Voges, Executive Director of ARCO, said:

“The UK has fallen badly behind other countries in its provision of housing-with-care for older people. This means that older people in the UK are far less likely to have a the option of retaining their independence whilst receiving care and support as and when they need it.

The case for helping to keep people independent for longer is now overwhelming from both a care and an economic angle – it is clear that there is now a strong consensus that retirement communities must play a decisive role in our care system in the decade ahead.”

The report will be launched at a virtual event on Thursday 18 February. For more information and to register, visit Report launch: What we want – Future-proofing retirement housing in England.

This report has been supported by Anchor Hanover, Notting Hill Genesis, the Extra Care Charitable Trust and A2Dominion.

About ILC

The ILC is the UK’s specialist think tank on the impact of longevity on society, and what happens next.

The International Longevity Centre UK was established in 1997 as one of the members of the International Longevity Centre Global Alliance, an international network on longevity.

Since our inception, we have published over 250 reports, organised over 300 events including the annual Future of Ageing conference.

We work with central government, local government, the private sector, and professional and academic associations to provoke conversations and pioneer solutions for a society where everyone can thrive, regardless of age.

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