Housing market not preparing for ageing population

Housing market not preparing for ageing population

The property market needs to adapt to the changing needs of the UK’s ageing population according to a leading property management firm. Apropos by D.J. Alexander believes that the whole housing market – property owners, social housing and the private rented sector (PRS) – needs a coordinated response to the increasingly large numbers of individuals facing housing issues in their older years.

The all-party parliamentary group (APPG) for ageing and older people recently published its ‘Inquiry into decent and accessible homes for older people’ which called for the extension of “housing options available to older people” to “make it easier to deliver better alternatives for older people living in unsuitable housing. This should include funding and planning reforms to expand the availability of housing with care, such as extra care housing, in both the private and social sectors as well as making sure alternative accessible and affordable general-purpose housing is available to buy or rent.”

Over the last decade there has been a 24% increase in the number of households aged over 65 at a time when the overall number of households has risen by 8% over the same time. The number of owner occupiers in the over 65 age group has increased by 30% over the last ten years compared with a decline of 4.5% living in social housing and an increase of 47.1% in the private rented sector.

David Alexander, joint managing director of apropos by D.J. Alexander, explained: “We need to ensure that there is adequate provision and an appropriate supply of homes for the growing elderly population. To resolve these issues there needs to be a response from all parts of the property market so that our elderly population have options in owned property, the PRS and social housing.”

“The AAPG rightly wants the PRS to improve conditions for private renters by abolishing ‘no fault evictions’ for private tenants alongside such measures such as landlord licensing, and to ensure tenants feel able to complain and thus help to tackle disrepair and improve standards across the sector. At the same time, the government must increase the housing options available in the social rented sector to provide greater security and genuinely affordable rents. Government also needs to work with private landlord organisations to increase the availability of housing in the private rented sector that is flexible and adaptable to older and disabled renters.”

David continued: “I see a growing number of older renters in the PRS who see renting as the ideal solution to their housing needs. The key factors for them are location, nearness to a town centre, and the opportunity to live in among people of a similar age. The total value of the private senior living market is expected to climb 40% to £55.2bn by 2023 up from £39.6bn in 2019 and housing professionals are increasingly targeting this group to invest in bespoke housing developments which match their needs and aspirations. Renting is increasingly becoming a suitable choice for many older people due to life events or changes in household composition and the opportunity that renting offers enabling individuals to live in a location that they could not possibly afford as owner-occupiers.”

Edinburgh Marina

“Typical of developments designed to meet changing demands from older residents is Royal Wharf, a block of one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments specifically-targeted at those aged 55 and over, which is part of the multi-million pound Edinburgh Marina development on the banks of the Firth of Forth. The individual homes offer 24-hour porterage and a wide range of concierge services. Additional services at extra cost include housekeeping and cleaning, care-support registered nurse, medication administration, manicure/pedicure, physiotherapy and exercise classes. Communal facilities will include a private cinema, private dining room, business centre, dining room and hobby craft and art room. These are the facilities that the over-55s seek and the developments which provide this offering will win a substantial share of this expanding market.”

David concludes: “As people live longer and healthier lives the property market needs to respond positively. By combining support services, technology and design that is appropriate for age related living developers will address the expanding issue of providing homes for one of the fastest growing markets in the UK.”