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Retirement housing shortage quantified

Published: Thursday, 28th July 2016

New report shows an increasing gap in the supply of retirement housing with an estimated shortage of 376,000 housing units by 2050…

A new report has highlighted a shortage of around 160,000 retirement housing units by 2030 for England’s increasingly elderly UK population.

That’s the assessment of the International Longevity Centre – UK (ILC-UK) in its latest ‘State of the Nation’s Housing’ report. If current trends continue by 2050 that gap could grow to 376,000, the organisation has estimated.

The report noted that the rate of construction of new housing for older people has varied over the years, peaking in 1989 at 30,000 units. But since then the rate has fallen away dramatically and has averaged around 7,000 new units a year over the last decade.

Currently there are around 515,000 specialist retirement and extra care homes in England. However, this means that there is only enough specialist housing to accommodate five per cent of the over-65 population.

Baroness Sally Greengross, Chief Executive, ILC-UK said: “Our report highlights that there are millions of over 50s with care needs who haven’t adapted their housing for old age and may be in homes too big for them.

“Retirement housing could be a solution for some older people but we are building far too few of this type of housing.”

She added: “Government must ensure that planning better supports and encourages adaptations. If older people are to live longer in their own homes we must better support older people to make adaptations to allow them to continue to live independently.

“A freeze in the current rate of stamp duty might also encourage more over 50s to move to homes better suited to their current and future needs”.

Roger Milne