28 May 2015
In a recent blog for Inside Housing I shared my view that while the housing market is a constant theme on both local and national news, the focus should not simply be on building more homes, but rather the right homes.
As England’s largest provider of retirement housing and care to over 55s, we at Anchor are well positioned to comment on demand for housing for older people. Our Grey Pride Manifesto, published last year, highlighted all the major areas of concern facing our aging population, and retirement housing was a key theme.
The manifesto reports that a third of over 60s want to downsize and that 50% of those who wanted to move said they couldn’t because of a lack of supply of retirement property. It quotes the Demos 2014 Affordability of Retirement Housing Report which finds that just 2% of housing stock in England is retirement housing, and that construction of homes designed specifically for older people has decreased dramatically to just 8,000 per year.
At Anchor we know there is demand for retirement housing – we know that downsizing to more manageable, purpose-built retirement properties is what many older people want for their later life.
I was disheartened to see that in the run up to the recent general election none of the political parties discussed the idea of increasing the supply of retirement housing in any great detail. While it is an option many older people want to be able to consider, building more retirement housing could also free-up other properties and help alleviate the housing shortage for all.
I passionately believe politicians should see new retirement housing as a cornerstone of all future house-building strategies and that it is important the wider media, and public, start talking more about what types of housing need to be built.
As I wrote in Inside Housing: “The first 100 days in office for a new government present a perfect opportunity to make their mark.”