The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the need for investment and innovation in the UK healthcare property sector, with long-term demand due to an ageing population combined with the accelerated closure of underperforming assets leading to a national bed crisis in care homes, according to the latest research from Knight Frank.
Knight Frank’s research identifies a potential 6,500 care homes at risk of closure over the next five years, equating to 140,000 beds. This shortage will be exacerbated by the increased demand for care homes by 2050, which will see a national bed crisis in the UK as the share of people over the age of 80 is expected to surge over the next 30 years, with one in ten adults set to be over 80 by 2050, compared to one in twenty currently.
Estimating that the UK requires in excess of £15bn to upgrade existing beds in order to future-proof for the ageing population, Knight Frank states that the Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated trends that will lead to the closures of care homes that are no longer fit for purpose, resulting in a significant national shortfall of bed provision.
Furthermore, the UK ranks lower than other advanced European economies for its bed provision, behind Belgium, the Netherlands, France and Germany, with only 13,000 elderly care beds per 100,000 people over 80. Belgium and the Netherlands have a significantly higher proportion at over 25,000 elderly care beds per 100,000 people over 80.