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Britain to Run Out of Retirement Homes in 5 Years

A new report has warned that Britain will run out of retirement housing for its growing population of seniors if another 90,000 retirement homes are not built in the next five years.

Property firm Savills indicates that the UK will need a minimum of 11,000 such residences every year merely to support an anticipated 2% increase in the number of over-65s. New homes have been built at an average rate of 7,000 a year since 2005. Analysis from Savills suggests that present supply trends may meet this necessity soon.

However, meeting the requirements of the growing segment of 0ver-75s will put extra pressure on retirement homes. Expected to rise by 3.2% annually over the next five years, their needs will require the industry to supply around 80,000 homes a year. Savills analyst Neal Hudson said that maintaining the existing provision of housing for seniors is a minimum indicator of how much new housing is needed.

According to Savills estimates, the UK’s over-65 population owns more than £1 trillion of mortgage-free property wealth. Over half of these households occupy homes that are bigger than they need and incompatible with their changing needs.

Currently, only 4% of older people in the UK live in retirement homes. 17% of elderly Americans live in such housing, while the proportion is around 13% in Australia and New Zealand.

Raising the fraction of retirement housing up to one-tenth would necessitate the construction of half a million homes by 2020. As life expectancy keeps rising, the pressure on retirees and those approaching retirement to care for their own elderly parents is expected to grow too. More than two million Britons between the ages of 50 and 65 already supply unpaid care for ill relatives.

Providing better options for retirement housing will be essential to easing the burden on these caregivers as demographic trends get worse. Encouraging more seniors to move into retirement homes will require more appealing options to be made available, such as places that suit the active social lives of their occupants as opposed to the narrow focus on safety and security.

Savills said that unless the right type of housing can be supplied, most seniors would try to remain in their family home until bereavement, safety concerns, or poor health motivate them to move.

Specialists in Construction Insurance

Mr Hudson said that a broader focus on providing housing that meets the needs of well-to-do older movers would create opportunities for investors and developers and release equity that could be used to help younger family members onto the housing ladder. It would also introduce larger family homes back into the market, where they are badly needed.

Henry Lumby, who heads the retirement living team at Savills, said that developers and operators need to offer goods and services that make older people welcome the prospect of moving. He pointed out that it is comparatively easy to put together a model of quality homes for those with high equity levels, but developers must build housing that covers a broad spectrum of prices and affordability.

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