Property consultancy Knight Frank has forecast 48% growth in housing with care in the UK, adding approximately 45,000 units in the next five years, while retirement housing is predicted to increase by 5% over the same period adding about 29,000 units.

Seniors housing is a diverse sector, comprising both ‘retirement housing’ – age-restricted market housing designed with the down-sizer in mind, and ‘housing with care’, which provides high levels of services, care and support.

The growth will take the total amount of seniors housing units in the UK to 800,000 – an overall increase of 10% by 2025.

Tom Scaife, head of senior living at Knight Frank, said: “There are a number of clear trends emerging in the senior living space, driven primarily by demand from residents. Schemes in urban locations – such as Audley’s new Nightingale Place in Clapham – are becoming increasingly popular as more people seek a lifestyle-led offering. Developments of mixed tenure are also becoming more widespread, as people discover the flexibility that comes from renting instead of buying in their later years.”

Knight Frank added that the growth of the UK’s senior living housing stock is still outstripped by the growth of the ageing population, with predictions that by 2037, one in four people will be aged over 65.

Therefore, while total delivery is forecast to rise, in real terms the number of seniors housing units per 1,000 individuals aged 75-plus is expected to drop to 120 by 2024, down from 137 in 2010 and 129 in 2020 – an overall decrease of 12.4% over 15 years.

Lauren Harwood, head of senior living research at Knight Frank, said: “Currently, the forecast suggests that the projected delivery of seniors housing seems will not keep pace with our growing ageing population. A step change in new delivery is required if the UK is to reverse the huge imbalance between need and supply, which is only set to increase as people continue to live longer and more of the population enters the 65-plus age bracket.”

Knight Frank contend that a significant issue holding the sector back is planning policy. Its research suggests that only 18% of local authorities in England have clear planning policies and site allocations to support the sector – and 50% still don’t have either.

Other Knight Frank research recently predicted that 6,500 care homes totalling 140,000 beds are at risk of closure over the next five years

Scaife added: “Private seniors housing has the ability to elevate pressure and increase capacity in the care system. Understanding this is crucial to ensuring delivery meets the needs of our ageing population.”

Date published: August 4, 2020

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