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“Search For Land Is On To Meet Post-Pandemic Demand” – McCarthy Stone

McCarthy Stone has announced an increase to its existing programme of land buying across England and Wales.

The company is seeking to acquire 60 new sites per year, in a move which strengthens its commitment to boosting housing options for older generations.  With more than 40 years’ experience unlocking significant site value, McCarthy Stone’s new sites will complement the company’s existing workflow, having purchased c.250 sites over the last five years.

A typical McCarthy Stone development features private apartments or bungalows across a range of tenures, with spaces for socialising and on-site care and support services which enrich the quality of life for its customers and give retirees the opportunity to live independently for longer.

McCarthy Stone’s Vision for Later Life in Britain report notes 35 per cent of over 65s believe the UK needs to ensure older people can have access to high quality housing. Research from the developer has also highlighted that 33 percent of over 65 are interested in moving to a retirement community, equating to approximately four million people, however, demand is outpacing supply and this is set to be exacerbated by the pandemic.

With many people reappraising their living arrangements in the light of the unprecedented experience of the last 12 months, McCarthy Stone has already seen an uplift in interest from prospective homeowners.  And with calls for the country to collectively build back stronger, McCarthy Stone is investing in its land acquisition strategy which will help to address post-pandemic demand in the UK’s retirement living sector – and contribute to the country’s social and economic recovery.

John Tonkiss, Chief Executive Officer for McCarthy Stone, explained: “In a post-pandemic world, it is absolutely vital that we continue to prioritise and empower older generations to live their lives to the full.  The provision of beautifully designed and well-located retirement communities can ensure older people who purchase or rent a property at one of our award-winning developments benefit from a sense of belonging, independence, and peace of mind.

“In order to meet what is a growing demand for specialist retirement communities among an ageing UK population, we must continue to focus on increasing choice and accessibility and creating the infrastructure older generations need and desire.  We are on the hunt for sites to develop and are very keen to speak to landowners and agents in locations that will allow us to create more communities which support retirees to enjoy a better and happier future.”

The benefits for communities of this urban renewal can be vast, with new retirement developments well placed to help bring life back to high streets and struggling city centres which have been badly impacted over the past year.

A report by WPI Strategy for campaign group Homes for Later Living revealed people living in each retirement development generate £550,000 of spending per year, £347,000 of which is spent on the local high street. Some £225,000 of this is new spending in the local authority, directly contributing to keeping local shops open.

Each new retirement community brings significant additional local benefits. A typical scheme:

  • Sustains local shops and high streets, with 97 per cent of McCarthyStone’s sites purchased in 2019 being in central, brownfield locations.
  • Saves local hospitals and care services £3,500 per person per year by keeping people healthier and happier
  • Releases family-sized homes as older people downsize and creates new housing chains, typically ending with first time buyers joining the housing ladder

McCarthy Stone’s existing portfolio of 1,300 retirement communities have proved to be safe places during the past year, with Covid-19 infection rates among its homeowners significantly below the national rate of infection across all age groups.

New sites are usually previously developed ‘brownfield’ land with all manner of existing mixed-uses including retail, commercial, hospitality and residential.

  • Within half a mile of shops and amenities and with a bus route nearby
  • A typical site will be between 0.6 to 6 acres, and ideally in a prominent location
  • Short and longer term opportunities are sought