The British Property Federation (BPF) has launched a new report that identifies an acute lack of independent housing for older people in the UK.
The report ‘Housing and care for older people: Defining the Sector’ also reveals the scale of new housing-with-care units required across England and Wales to keep up with future demand.
There are only 74,000 housing-with-care units in the UK today. This small number of units is only 0.9 per cent of older households, which is significantly lower than in the US, Australia and New Zealand.
The UK falls considerably short of the international benchmark of approximately 6% established by this report.
There are currently around 11 million people aged over 65 years in England and Wales, and by 2029 there will be 2.1 million more, highlighting the growing disparity between supply and demand.
To achieve the same provision of housing-with-care as the US, Australia and New Zealand by 2029, 45,000 new housing-with-care units must be built each year across England and Wales.
Currently, housing-with-care is only 16 percent of total stock of housing for older people, and around eight percent of local authorities in England and Wales do not have a single housing-with-care scheme, emphasising the urgent need for fit-for-purpose housing for older people.
The report sets out three recommendations to the Government to support an increase in supply of housing-with-care:
- The UK Government should establish a Housing for Older People Taskforce. Central to the taskforce’s remit will be to recognise and promote the benefits of purpose-built housing for older people, with a particular focus on housing-with-care, and to provide local authorities with the resource to help plan for such accommodation with local need in mind.
- The UK Government should develop and publish a national strategy for Housing for Older People. The national strategy should ensure all forms of appropriate housing is provided for older people as a key part of national and local housing targets.
- Priority should be given to projects that exhibit a commitment to achieving the UK’s zero carbon ambitions. The government should consider implementing measures to fast track planning projects that exhibit high sustainability standards while addressing the pressing demand for housing for an ageing population.