Why incentivising “right sizing” in retirement could play a key role in tackling the housing crisis


As a leading provider of structural warranties, Advantage is proud to work with housebuilders nationwide, including retirement development specialists, to ensure that they have the correct cover in place for their projects.

Naturally, we take a keen interest in the construction sector as a whole, including the provision of retirement housing, and the growing demand for retirement communities. This week we read the Chair of the Affordable Housing Commission Lord Best’s statement that policies are needed to break the “cultural reticence” towards later life downsizing if the UK is to address its housing crisis.

Incentivising downsizing in retirement

Speaking at a virtual panel hosted by Legal & General, Lord Best, a crossbench member of the House of Lords said government had to incentivise the elder generation to “right size”, so as to free up much needed family-sized social and council housing.

“We just don’t have a culture in the UK of a move in older age, people are very suspicious of moving… there is a fear of moving to an institutional setting,” he said.

“In Europe, the research we conducted seemed to suggest the norm after the age of 55 was ‘now is the time to move, to somewhere where I’ll have services to hand, where I’m going to be able to look after myself into older age, why don’t I take the plunge?’.

“But we don’t have that culture here, squaring the circle, getting it to happen is not easy, so we need to incentivise them, provide an opportunity for downsizing,” he continued.

A lack of local downsizing options

right sizing in retirementAccording to a survey published earlier this month, almost 90% of people think the government should widen housing options for older people – including those with care, and that more than half of older people are interested in moving but lack good local downsizing options.

The survey, conducted by Later Life Ambitions and the Associated Retirement Community Operators (ARCO), illuminates the miss-match between the needs and wants of older people and the options available to them. 56% are interested in moving, rising to 70% if to somewhere with care and support as an alternative to a care home, yet 53% say their local area does not have enough downsizing options, including those with care.

Michael Voges, Executive Director of ARCO, said:

“The new evidence published today demonstrates starkly the gulf between what housing and care options people want when they are older, and those currently available to them.

“A majority of older people are interested in moving should there be the right option in their local area, but the current supply of good quality housing and care is simply nowhere near enough to meet demand.

“When 90% of people call on the government to widen housing options for older people, including those providing care, then it is time to listen and act swiftly.”

Related read: How to create housing for intergenerational living.

The Advantage team is proud to work with our clients on developments throughout the UK, adhering to all social distancing guidelines to ensure that projects are covered by the appropriate structural warranty. To find out more about how we could help you with your project, call: 0845 900 3969 or email: sales@ahci.co.uk

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Advantage Home Construction Insurance (AHCI) provides structural defects insurance – operating nationally with offices in Warrington, London and Birmingham – offering development-related insurances and a service designed to give customers peace of mind.

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