The number of care homes and beds in the UK continued to fall over the past year, according to property specialist Knight Frank.
The annual UK Healthcare Development Opportunities 2018 research report revealed a net loss of 117 homes and 388 beds over the past year, though the overall loss of beds was much lower than the 2,612 recorded in the previous year.
Julian Evans, Head of Hotels, Healthcare and Leisure at Knight Frank, said: “The UK healthcare industry is less developed than other sectors and therefore requires substantial investment in order to keep pace with present demand, let alone the provision that is going to be needed for the future.
“Whilst the gap closed on the net loss of beds compared to last year, this is still not enough to address the crisis in provision and is likely to be further exacerbated as the next generation ages at a faster rate than new care homes can be developed.”
Knight Frank said the slowdown in the loss of beds last year was due to the closure of smaller homes being offset to a degree by the opening of larger, more efficient and viable schemes.
Greater London topped the hotspots for investment and development in England in 2018 with the central region leading in Scotland for the third consecutive year.
The top five in England and Wales were Greater London, South Glamorgan, Buckinghamshire, Berkshire and Cambridgeshire.
Julian added: “We estimate that we require in excess of £15bn to upgrade existing beds in order to future-proof and that approximately 6,500 care homes are at risk of closure over the next five years, which equates to 140,000 beds.
“Due to the scarcity of stock and a continuing ageing population driving demand, the investment appetite for care home developments remains strong and there are opportunities for both investors and developers across the entire UK, with our Hotspots Index highlighting the range of opportunities nationally.”