McCarthy & Stone, Britain’s leading builder of retirement apartments, is warning that a city the size of Manchester (circa 500,000 people) needs to be built every two years for the next 20 years if the UK is going to address its need for more specialist housing for its ageing population.
A building programme to meet this shortfall would not only release up to 3.75 million existing and much-needed family-sized homes to tackle the UK’s family housing shortage, but would also sustain 250,000 new construction jobs a year to 2033 and provide a significant boost to the economy.
As highlighted in the March 2013 House of Lords’ Ready for Ageing? report to which McCarthy & Stone submitted evidence, the UK’s specialist housing provision lags woefully behind other developed countries with just two per cent of housing stock built as retirement housing compared to 17 per cent in the USA and 13 per cent in New Zealand and Australia.
Yet 17 per cent of people (9.2 million) in the UK are currently over the age of 65, and by 2033 it will have risen to 13 million. A 100 per cent increase in those aged over 85 is expected by 2030. However, just 1,600 specialist retirement dwellings were built for ownership in 2012, significantly below demand for this form of housing.
Gary Day, planning director, McCarthy & Stone said: “The Ready for Ageing? report is one of the most comprehensive studies on the impact of our ageing population and it states that government, local authorities and society are currently ‘woefully underprepared’ for the changing nature of our population.
“Central and local government need to give as much priority to promoting adequate housing for older people as they currently give to housing younger people. Releasing more homes for families will also benefit the entire housing chain by freeing up availability to second or third homers, and lead to more jobs as older homes are renovated and restored.”