New research from McCarthy & Stone reveals Manchester-sized city needed every two years to house UK's ageing population

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McCarthy & Stone, Britain’s leading builder of retirement apartments, has today warned 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.

The super-sized building programme needed to meet this shortfall would release up to 3,750,000 existing and much-needed family-sized homes to tackle the UK’s family housing shortage, and 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 is projected that over 13 million people will be over 65**. 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.”

Adds Edwina Currie, a member of The McCarthy & Stone Greater Life Advisory Board, a non-executive board set up to consider a range of age-related issues: “March’s budget only included measures to encourage mainstream housebuilding and help first time buyers and families.

“I hope the Chancellor takes note of the recent Lords’ report and addresses the growing need for retirement housing. There are several actions he could take to help older home owners trying to downsize. He should also remember that Stamp Duty can act as a deterrent when someone is trying to move to a home suitable for disability, even though it would release much-needed property for younger families.”


Further information:

The calculations used by McCarthy & Stone are as follows:

  •     The Financial Inclusion Centre reported in 2010 that people aged 65 and over hold a total of £1.1 trillion in housing equity.
  •     To get to the same proportion of specialist housing levels as the USA (17%), 4,250,000 specialist dwellings for older people are needed, based on the current total of 25 million homes in the UK. As there are already 500,000 dwellings of all types for older people (including care homes), another 3,750,000 homes, or 187,500 homes each year for the next 20 years to 2033, are needed.
  •     3,750,000 homes (or 187,500 homes per year) would house approximately 4,875,000 people (or 243,000 homes per year) at 1.3 older people per dwelling.
  •     The population of Manchester is approximately 503,000 people. Two years’ of older people (243,000 people x 2 years) would total 486,000 people.
  •     An average retirement development totals approximately 40 dwellings and employs 55 full and part time jobs during construction per year. To reach 187,000 dwellings per year, 4,675 schemes are required (187,000 dwellings / 40 dwellings). This would sustain up to 257,125 jobs each year until 2033 (4,675 schemes x 55 jobs).
  • 2011 Census data

**2012 Substantial Population Projections based on 2010 population data

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