The nation’s three largest developers specialising in retirement homes have urged the government to set a national target to ensure that 10% of new homes built are for older people.
There have been widespread calls for Boris Johnson to continue to prioritise housing (which we’ve written about in some of our recent Advantage blog posts). However, putting the focus specifically on housing for older people, in a letter sent to Number 10, McCarthy & Stone’s John Tonkiss, Churchill Retirement Living’s Spencer McCarthy and Lifestory Group’s Mark Dickinson, state that
“the recovery drive will be running on empty if we don’t take urgent action to help the millions of people who actively want to downsize.”
As reported by housebuilder, the retirement development specialists say the government should ensure that 10% of new housing caters specifically for the needs of older home owners.
Advantage has previously written about how and why multi-generational co-habiting is on the rise, and how developers have responded to the challenge of creating homes that will cater to family members of all ages. However, as the leading retirement house builders have highlighted, there remains an undeniable need for housing built specifically with retirees in mind.
In their letter to Number 10, the group set out the economic and social benefits of building 30,000 new retirement homes yearly, with retirement housing in all forms key to restarting the housing market as well as keeping vulnerable people safer from future pandemics. With their residents typically aged over 80, the chief executives claimed that within their schemes, they had seen “extremely low” levels of coronavirus infection.
Construction Enquirer stated: It (the developers’ letter) argues specialist retirement housing must be central to efforts to get the housing market restarted, while also helping ensure that vulnerable people are better protected against future pandemics.
Prioritising a proportion of new homes for an ageing population would stimulate transactions throughout the housing market, helping young families and first-time buyers move onto and up the ladder.
It would also generate savings to the NHS and social care services of £3,500 per person per year as people in specialist retirement properties are less likely to be admitted to hospital and require further care than people in mainstream housing.
This means that building 30,000 more retirement housing dwellings every year for the next 10 years would generate estimated savings across the NHS and social services of £1.4bn per year within a decade.
“Building more specialist retirement housing would be a win-win for the Government.
“It would unlock the housing market, helping older people, young families and first-time buyers. It would also assist with attempts to fix the social care crisis once and for all,” say the housing bosses.
“With the number of older people in England growing significantly, the time to act is now.
“The Government has given the housing market the green light to get moving again and we welcome this. But the risk is that the recovery drive will be running on empty if we don’t take urgent action to help the millions of people who actively want to downsize.”
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