Chronic supply shortage fuels McCarthy & Stone’s bid to build 3,000 retirement homes a year

Elles House, Wallington, McCarthy & Stone

McCarthy & Stone’s plans to build and sell more than 3,000 retirement homes a year is firmly on track after the firm said this week that the UK is suffering a “chronic undersupply” of retirement properties.

The shortfall in appropriate housing represents a lucrative opportunity for the newly-listed retirement house-builder, which has seen its sales soar 33% over the past six months to £250m.

The firm said it is making “strong progress” in its bid to hit its 3,000-unit objective and has procured enough land to deliver all targeted sales for the next three years.

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“The UK’s population is maturing at a fast rate, but continues to suffer from a chronic undersupply of suitable retirement properties of the type we provide,” said CEO Clive Fenton. “McCarthy & Stone is uniquely placed to capitalise on this opportunity.”

Fenton confirmed the company’s land bank now includes enough land with full planning consent to deliver all targeted sales to 2017, and sufficient land under control to deliver all targeted sales to 2019. Its overall land bank for the next three years currently stands at 10,800 plots, compared with 9,460 at this stage last year.

“In the first half [of the financial year], we have put in place the regional infrastructure and management capability necessary to help deliver these sales, which gives us confidence in the progress we are making in achieving our strategic objective of building and selling more than 3,000 units per annum,” he commented.

Although there has been well-documented growth in UK house-building activity, Fenton said the shortage of homes in the market for retirement housing was “particularly acute”.

“3.5 million people over the age of 60 have expressed particular interest in buying a retirement property and yet only circa 141,000 specialist retirement properties for homeowners have been built.”

McCarthy & Stone believes downsizing is a potential solution to addressing broader housing undersupply and it continues to engage with the government on possible measures to facility greater housing liquidity for downsizers.

The group’s net average selling price increased to £253,000 for the six months to the end of February, compared to £226,000 the year before.

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