Knight Frank highlights retirement housing undersupply

Tom Scaife

Global property consultancy Knight Frank has highlighted a critical undersupply of retirement housing in the UK.

In its latest report, The Case for Retirement Housing, Knight Frank said the number of people aged over 65 is forecast to rise by 20% over the next decade.

Tom Scaife, Head of Retirement Housing, said: “The forecast growth in the UK’s older population, couple with a need for housing that can free up family homes and help alleviate the stress on the NHS and social services, means that the case for retirement housing delivered at scale has never been stronger.

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“In its basic form, retirement housing can help reduce loneliness, is a safer environment in a community setting and reduces visits to hospital. 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 retirement housing sector (from age restricted over 55 housing to housing with care) currently comprises 725,000 homes, equating to 2.6% of the total UK housing stock.

A quarter of over 55s would consider downsizing or moving into some sort of retirement or purpose-built accommodation, according to Knight Frank research. If 25% of the over 65s chose retirement housing over the next decade there is potential demand for retirement housing from an additional 582,283 individuals.

Knight Frank found that amongst those over 65, there were 3.5m households with enough equity to downsize and buy a flat in the same locality, while still retaining 25% of the equity from their sale.

London and the South East and the East Midland have the highest proportion of people living in high value properties.

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