Industry leaders are urging for more to be done to address the severe supply and demand imbalances seen in the UK senior living housing market.

Britain has had a severe housing crisis for over a decade. There is a social housing shortage and house prices continue to reach record highs.

Statistics from YouGov showed younger people are more likely to see affordability as the main issue, however older generations are more likely to see the availability of housing as the biggest problem.

According to Showhouse, there are nearly 12.5 million people aged 65 or over, but retirement housing makes up just 2% of the UK’s housing supply, which is drastically short of demand.

The challenge is not the ageing generation trying to stay put in their family home, but rather the lack of new senior homes being built; of the 30,000 age exclusive homes needed to be built each year, only 7,000 were built last year.

With the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic creating a strong desire to move home, new research found that retirees felt there were too many barriers that dis-incentivised them to move. A lack of suitable housing options was one of the primary barriers, with 33% of retirees (around 4 million people) calling for the UK to prioritise the development of more retirement housing solutions.

Only 7% of UK homes meet the most basic accessibility requirements, yet older people refrain from moving until a sudden crisis such as worsening health means they have to.

Michael Voges, Executive Director of the Associated Retirement Community Operators said “The UK’s lack of supply of housing-with-care means that many older people spend more time in hospitals than they need to and have few choices if they wish to move to more appropriate housing. The lack of alternatives comes at a great cost to the NHS and social care sector and exacerbates the social care crisis”

Industry news says a key to unlocking the UK’s housing crisis lies in tackling the under-occupation of family homes where there are over 15 million surplus bedrooms, these are concentrated in the older population, who tend to live in couples or alone. Another issue is the number of empty homes across the UK which lay vacant or derelict, restoring these properties can help tackle the crisis. Fraser and Fraser are committed to bringing empty homes back into use. We specialise in tracing owners or their next-of-kin to vacant properties and assist in bringing them back to a standard where it can be utilised.

While progress is being made, a diverse range of senior living homes coming to market, it’s clear that more needs to be done.

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