Retirement living boom forecast by Knight Frank

Tom Scaife

The private retirement market is set to grow by 50% to £44bn by 2022, according to property specialist Knight Frank.

In its latest report, Knight Frank forecasts that the number of private retirement living units will grow by almost 30% in the same time frame.

The Retirement Living Comes of Age report says investment in the sector is at an unprecedented level with growth driven by private sector development and the economic attraction of a fast maturing market.

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Social housing accounts for 75% of the 720,000 retirement units in the UK, however, the private market has accounted for 54% of new developments since 2000. Knight Frank said the private market would account for 78% of developments by 2022.

The property specialist said the market was split between later living with limited on-site care (70%) and housing with care/assisted living with increased management and amenities (30%).

Knight Frank highlighted that only 0.5% of the over 65s in the UK lived in housing with care schemes compared with more than 5% in the US, Australia and New Zealand.

It said more than 3m retirement properties were required to the number of people prepared to downsize today but this figure would grow with the number people over 65 expected to increase by 20% to 12m by 2027.

Tom Scaife, Head of Retirement Housing at Knight Frank, said: “Going forward we rapidly need every UK local authority to have a cohesive plan for the delivery of retirement living – so they can be held to account for meeting the needs of their constituents.

“The government has committed to help those at the beginning of the property ladder with initiatives such as the ‘Help-to-buy’ scheme and stamp duty relief for first time buyers. These initiatives and support should not be constrained to the beginning of the ladder – support should be available at all stages of the property life cycle.

“At a national level, a 20% allocation should be given for retirement living from the UK’s annual housing delivery target of 300,000 homes. Given that 18% of the population is over-65 (almost 12 million people), and that this age is predicted to increase by 20% over next ten years, it is imperative that the issue is addressed.”

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