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The Development Outlook For Senior Living

Peter Hemple looks at the rapidly growing demand for elderly housing

Knight Frank surveyed almost 2,000 homeowners and renters over the  age of 65 as part of a wider tenant survey to better assess their priorities. The Senior Living Survey was released in June 2019 and revealed that location remains the most important factor when choosing a property for the UK's over 65s, with 56% of respondents highlighting this as a top priority, followed by affordability and the size of the property.

The report also shows there is an existing seniors’ rental market, albeit not currently in Build-to-Rent seniors housing, which has not been built on any sizeable scale yet. The survey found that affordability is still a significant factor underpinning decisions to live in the private rented sector, with 17% of respondents stating they don’t have enough savings for a deposit to buy a property. When choosing a location in which to live, 28% of respondents said that their decision was guided by whether the rent or purchase price of the area was within their budget, followed by living close to family and friends (17%), proximity to transport links (13%) and access to green space (10%).

The majority (60%) of respondents said their last move was to a home within ten miles of their previous property. Meanwhile, almost a quarter moved more than 50 miles, perhaps reflecting the need to move for family reasons. Respondents indicated a clear inclination towards town centre living, with 75% stating the distance from a retirement village to a town centre was important to them.

Extra care for older people
Knight Frank forecasts the total value of the private senior living market will climb by 40% to £55.2bn by 2023, from £39.6bn in 2019 - with growth being underpinned by demographic shifts and increased investment from both the UK and overseas.

Tom Scaife, head of Senior Living at Knight Frank, says: “These findings highlight clear opportunities for senior living developers to design schemes that appeal to this growing sector. In fact, 37% of respondents to the survey said they found the prospect of living in a senior living scheme attractive, representing huge potential for market growth.

“A uniform plan for meeting the housing needs of our aging population is required. This should include clarity on affordable housing, local authority financial saving through provision of care within seniors housing, and the release of local family housing back to the market via downsizers moving into seniors housing.”

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