Report calls for improvements in housing for older people

Recent report argues a focus on building better quality housing to meet expectations of baby boomers is what’s needed to close supply.


New Policy Exchange report welcomed by developers McCarthy & Stone reveals recommendations on improving the housing market for an ageing population.

With housing continuing to race up the political agenda, a focus on young people’s experience of the housing market is often overlooked, the report finds.

Compared to that of 11.9 million in 2016, projected numbers of 17.7 million living aged 65 and over will be seeking greeter housing demands from the government, with a focus on providing better quality homes to improve people’s quality of life.

The report further states that retirement housing needs to be a more desirable option and private providers should acknowledge the gap in the market for attractive retirement living.

The policies various recommendations include:

• The removal of the 2% stamp duty band by the government – levied on those buying homes between £125,000 and £250,000
• More consideration given to how older renters without adequate savings receive support
• Government and local authorities should look to attract more investment into the retirement sector – directed towards private rental housing
• Local authorities to consider the exemption of rental retirement schemes where profit tends to be lower but where need is only going to increase

In addition, the planning system should be used as a vehicle to encourage new models for retirement housing. For example:

• Exempting retirement housing developers from financial obligations faced by mainstream developers – helping them compete more effectively
• Government should look to encourage local authorities to waive planning obligations when developments provide suitable amount of housing for retirement market
• In forthcoming Social Care Green Paper, government should acknowledge the widespread perception that local authorities face a “financial disincentive” when numbers of older people living in the area increases
• Local authorities should be encouraged to review needs for specialist housing for older people across all tenures as part of housing market assessments

In a conclusion to the report, it is stated the need for more homes should not be limited is in areas in which it would be more profitable for business.

It states that delivering a broader range of housing requires a more innovative approach, particularly in parts of the country not being served by the private sector and those with an ageing social housing stock.

Gary Day, Group Land and Planning Director of McCarthy & Stone, adds: “We support the recommendations made by Policy Exchange in this report.

“Retirement communities have a hugely positive impact on the well-being of older people, allowing them to live happier and healthier lives.

“Yet moving costs – particularly stamp duty – are holding them back. 2.6 million would be encouraged to move with a downsizing exemption, freeing up housing supply for families and first-time buyers, and reducing the state’s social care burden.

“There is also an urgent need to build more suitable housing that meets the different needs of those in retirement.

“Despite demand, just c.162,000 retirement properties have ever been built for older homeowners, a woeful under supply for the UK’s rapidly ageing population.

“Planning policy is largely silent on the housing needs of older people.

“If the right policies and incentives were introduced, and the financial obligations and regulatory challenges faced by retirement developers addressed, supply could increase from around 6,000 units a year currently to 20-30,000 units a year.”

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