Bungalows are not the complete answer to retirement property

Blog posted

30th September 2013

Communities secretary Eric Pickles has called upon local authorities to build more bungalows to stem the need for more elderly housing in the years ahead.

His words have hit the headlines because half of all new households created in the coming years will be over 65s, as reported in the Daily Mail.

But before councils up and down the UK start rewriting their local plans, perhaps a word with the population destined to reach old age in the coming decades, might be an idea.

What do the future generations of retirees actually want? Well, if our own villages are any guide, a growing percentage want an easy maintenance lifestyle, where the emphasis is more on social and active living, and generally making the most of every day, rather than being tied to daily chores and household duties.

Bungalows are lower maintenance potentially than two-storey homes but there’s still plenty of floor space, and gardens, to look after. This is why more and more of our purchasers opt for apartment living.

This is borne out at our newest village, Charters Village near East Grinstead in Surrey, where apartments have been snapped up first, ahead of bungalows and cottages.

Once complete, this village will comprise approximately 85% apartments. And another project just released at Maynard House in Great Easton, Essex, is entirely apartments, such is demand.

Setting aside the aspirations of actual retirees for one moment, we have to be realistic – land is a precious commodity and already there are concerns voiced about building on the countryside. I’m not certain where the amount of land required for major bungalow schemes is going to magically appear from.

I think the communities secretary’s comments have certainly stirred up much interest, including more feedback from others within the industry in this piece.

We are keen to debate the way forward and hope Mr Pickles will use his opening suggestions as a pre-cursor to some meaningful conversation around this very important subject.