In their election rhetoric all the political parties informed us that the UK is experiencing a ‘housing crisis’, with all promising to deliver an additional million homes by the end of 2022. But what homes are needed and for whom? Here we look at one specific and growing market, the retirement generation.
So what are the facts?
- The number of households across England is set to increase by 5.2 million by 2039, three-quarters of the increase is households headed by those aged 65+
- Over half of the over 60’s are actively looking to downsize
- Only 2% of the UK housing stock is designated retirement housing, and this houses just 1% of Britons over the age of 65
- The provision of retirement housing has been decreasing, from 30,000 units per annum throughout the 1980’s to just 8,000 units today
- The current retirement generation are more active, independent, technologically savvy and more interested in quality than ever before
- The so-called post-war ‘baby boom’ generation are now in their 60’s and early 70’s. For many retirement has or is, beckoning. However, while research by Demos suggests that over half of those over 60’s are looking to downsize from their current property, a survey by Strutt and Parker indicates that two in every five believe there is a lack of suitable property available for them. And why is that so important?. Age UK estimate if just half of all those over 60 who were interested in moving could do so, this would release an additional £356 billion of property, mainly three and four bedroom family homes into the housing market, a not insignificant sum in the current housing crisis.
From a local perspective, we can look to see this particularly acutely in West Oxfordshire. Net migration into West Oxfordshire is rising and, according to the statisticians at Oxfordshire County Council, West Oxfordshire is set to be the fastest growing district in the County. Furthermore, as we’ve still not had our Local Plan for housing adopted and we’re well behind the anticipated targets, house prices will continue to be squeezed upwards.