Kevin Beirne, Octopus Real Estate
Kevin Beirne, Octopus Real Estate

A report by real estate lender and investor Octopus Real Estate estimates that there could be as many as 2.5 million UK retirees looking to move into retirement properties, as Covid-19 highlights the benefits of community living.

The report, ‘Unlocking the retirement opportunity in a post-pandemic world’, highlights the gap between current supply and future demand for retirement real estate.

The report estimates there will be 7.5 million UK residents aged 65 and over by 2069 and at present fewer than 1% of UK retirees live in retirement communities.

The research suggests operators, developers, and investors work together to build more retirement communities to meet this demand.

Key findings from the report include:

• Almost two in three (65%) respondents believe that retirement will be the best years of their life

• Over a third (37%) of over 55s shielded in lockdown. Nearly half (47%) of over 55s felt lonely or isolated during the national Covid-19 lockdowns. Almost a third (28%) found home maintenance stressful and just over half (55%) felt they could keep up with the maintenance

• 27.3% of over 65s would definitely or maybe consider moving to a retirement community once they understood what it offers. This number rose to 43% for those aged 55-59

• Only 12% of those who would not consider a retirement community said this was due to not understanding or trusting the fees.

Kevin Beirne, director, head of retirement, at Octopus Real Estate, said: “The global pandemic has been a catalyst for people across the country re-evaluating their living arrangements and retirees are no exception. The national lockdowns have highlighted the benefits that retirement communities offer. We know that, for the majority, retirement communities will not be the answer but to meet the growing demand of those that are interested, more communities need to be built. By doing so it will also free up more family homes and help unlock the UK’s property crisis. The opportunity in the UK for retirement community operators, developers and institutional investors to come together to create more choice for retirees is clear and in so doing we can play our part in helping to build back better.”

Nick Sanderson, chair of Associated Retirement Community Operators and chief executive of Audley Group, added: “This important piece of research is perfectly timed as the nation eases out of lockdown and we readjust our lives following a year of living through the pandemic. The real benefits that living in a retirement community brings is the freedom and protection that comes with having your own front door but with the added benefit of being supported by the team of dedicated staff and the community itself.”

The report is available here.

Date published: April 27, 2021

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