Housing crisis blamed on failure to build retirement housing

The key to unlocking the UK’s housing crisis is reversing underinvestment in purpose-built housing for older people, which could encourage downsizers and free up family homes.

This is according to a report, ‘Too little, Too late? Housing for an ageing population’, published, by Associated Retirement Community Operators (ARCO).

Phil Bayliss, chief executive of Later Living at Legal & General and chairman of Guild Living, said: “As has become ever more apparent in the past few months, there are major failures in the way we house our elderly in their later years.

“As a country, we need to acknowledge the benefits that a new form of retirement community can bring and to actively plan to deliver these homes.

“For this, we will need policy support that mandates a minimum quota of homes each year to meet the needs of older people.”

Nearly 9 million households aged over-65 live in a house with ‘surplus’ bedrooms.

The number of purpose-built homes offering care services is around 0.7% of UK housing stock, according to a recent report from the Urban Land Institute.

Just 7,000 new homes built each year are designed for older people. This is insufficient to serve the 180,000 65-plus households that will be created each year over the next decade.

The report called on the government to promote the benefits of downsizing and incentivise people to downsize before social care is needed, partly through cuts to stamp duty.

A housing strategy for older people that joins together housing and health should be established, by making local authorities plan for retirement housing and identify appropriate sites.