Almost 3,000 people will not be able to find a care home bed in 2018, according to research commissioned by the BBC.
The research by property consultants JLL for BBC Radio 4’s You and Yours programme, revealed that only half the required number of beds are being built each year.
James Kingdom, Head of Alternatives Research at JLL, said: “Even before we take into account the impact of bed closures, the care home sector needs to double the delivery of new beds.
“Demand for private pay stock set to increase across all regions of the UK, not just the wealthy prime markets, as a result of historic house price growth and no change in the threshold for publically funded care since 2010.
“The election showed what an emotive subject social care and how it is going to be funded can be. But it is essential that the government reaches a sustainable solution as to how social care is to be funded in a way that doesn’t pass the burden to a shrinking working age population.”
JLL revealed 7,000 care home beds have been built over the last 15 years but due to increasing demand double that amount will be needed each year for the next decade.
JLL said the number of closures in the sector – over 21,400 beds have been lost in the UK since 2014 – make meeting new demand even more challenging.
One in five beds have been built in the South East since 2002, owing to the region having the fastest growing elderly population and greatest affluence, however, there were only 743 new beds in the region last year compared with 2,072 lost.
JLL said around 77% of care home beds across the UK were built before the adoption of modern quality standards in 2002 and there was an urgent need for new development to meet demand and improve living standards for future residents.
William Laing, founder of LaingBuisson and author of its flagship Care of Older People report, said: “You and Yours has once again found a worrying downward trend in care capacity, largely because council paid fees (and central government funding to support them) are inadequate to incentivise new investment in care homes in those areas, largely north of a line from The Wash to the Bristol Channel, where there are not enough private payers to boost profitability with premium fees.
“And it’s not just a matter of new homes, it’s also a matter of incentivising maintenance capital expenditure on existing care home stock. Without such continuing investment, it will not be possible to offer the physical environment in which society would wish older people with substantial care needs to live.”