As the population of retirees continues to grow rapidly, the property market needs to be increasingly in tune with the needs and wants of what is currently an under-represented market sector.
Only 2% of the UK’s housing stock is designated as retirement accommodation and is home to just 1% of Britons in their 60s. The number of retirement homes being developed has also decreased dramatically, from 30,000 per year in 1980s to 8,000 per year today.
However, new research from Strutt & Parker and Octopus Healthcare, and reported in Show House magazine, has shed some light on the housing requirements of our retirement generation by surveying over 2,200 respondents from across the UK aged 65 years or older.
The ‘Platinum Generation’ survey revealed four key insights into retirement accommodation:
- 73% of respondents have no plans in place for retirement accommodation or their care provision in later life;
- 42% believe there is a lack of suitable properties in the UK to downsize into;
- 41% would like a six-month trial before permanently moving into a retirement community;
- 17% would consider living in a professionally managed rental product, in other words a ‘Build to Rent’ model.
Stephanie McMahon, Head of Research at Strutt & Parker, said, “Our research shows that there is a clear need for a new breed of retirement communities in the UK. The Baby Boomers have voiced objections to living in the same way as their parents in retirement. Often in good health, with decent pensions and active lifestyles, they want to live where they can continue to enjoy their established way of life, minus the day job.
“They want access to local culture and recreational facilities – such as theatres, farmers’ markets and swimming pools – but also accommodation that is flexible enough to meet their future care requirements. Through our research, we have identified a potential solution which we call Platinum Places. These are mixed-use and mixed-age, urban or edge-of-community developments in towns, cities or large amenity-rich villages.”
Age UK estimates that 25% of over-65s would be interested in buying a retirement property. The current lack of suitable accommodation is having a negative impact on the wider housing market, with empty-nesters lacking an incentive to downsize and staying in their existing family homes. There is less housing stock available for younger buyers as a result.
According to Age UK, if just half of the 58% of over-60s who are interested in moving were able to do so, it would release £356 billion worth of property into the market, of which nearly half would be three-bedroom homes.