Retirement Villages’ trade body, ARCO, the Associated Retirement Community Operators, says the Chancellor missed a trick in his Autumn Statement when it came to provision of UK retirement property.
Responding to Chancellor George Osborne’s statement, ARCO’s executive director Michael Voges, said: “We are in the grip of a housing crisis, not just for first-time buyers or families, but for older people too. In the Autumn Statement the Chancellor missed a trick by not taking concrete steps to address the housing needs of our ageing population.
“It is vital that we build specialist retirement housing for older people. A recent Demos report found 33% of over 60s would like to downsize if suitable retirement homes were available. If just half of those interested in downsizing were able to, 4 million older people could free up 3.5 million family sized homes.
“However, just 2% of the UK housing stock (533,000 homes) meets the needs of older people. The number of retirement communities is even lower, at just over 50,000 homes.”
ARCO is calling for a suspension of stamp duty on purchases of properties in retirement communities, as well as an increase in Homes and Communities Agency funding for the construction of specialist retirement properties in the affordable and social housing sector.
It argues that not only would these measures allow older people to downsize and move to housing with a care development, which can support them as they age in place, it would also stimulate much needed movement in the rest of the housing market, helping the whole economy.
Jami Puckering, land and planning director at Retirement Villages agreed: “We are in a position to invest in more development but restrictive planning laws, a lack of specific housing allocations for older person’s housing, and a general lack of perceived appetite and support for purpose-built retirement schemes is making progress difficult. “
ARCO is asking for more to be done at both national and local government level and we would support that view. With a growing elderly population, the choice and volume of elderly provision needs to grow with immediate affect.”
Land and Planning Director